Titled ‘Algaemy‘, Essi Johanna Glomb and Rasa Weber of Berlin studio Blond and Bieber explain how algae can be used to create completely non-toxic textile dyes. Blond and Bieber’s Algaemy project was also chosen to be the winner of the Make Me! competition at Poland’s Lodz Design Festival.
The duo created an analogue textile-printer that produces its own dye using different types of common species algae. Various species of microalgae are naturally pigmented with blue, green, brown and red tones. These pigments can be extracted using heat and distillation, then turned into natural dyes.
A machine was then built from beech wood to house all the elements needed to create and print with the algae dyes. It holds the beakers in which the algae is grown with carbon dioxide through blowing and filters for the dye and test tubes for experimenting with different colours, as well as rails for hanging textiles over. A roller on the front is wrapped in strips of rubber, which can be covered in the dye and wheeled over lengths of fabric to print continuous patterns.
The prints are photo sensitive and change tone over time when exposed to sunlight, creating a “biodynamic colour palette”. The duo plan to carry on research and development into algae-based dyes, but also want to bring products made using the dyes to market.