As Ginkgo Bioworks’ pilot designers-in-residence, Faber Futures explored the capabilities of Ginkgo’s foundry to develop custom microbial strains, designing, engineering and building custom tools through digital fabrication in order to create graphic textile prints, larger-scale textile patterns and a bespoke engineered print for garments. This experimental collaboration incorporated three distinct lines of enquiry: Scale, Void and Assemblage 001
Scale explores how Ginkgo’s infrastructure enables larger lengths of fabric to be dyed. With Rise and Fall of a Micropolis, we had already devised a protocol to dye a piece of fabric that measured 2m x 2m. Thanks to Gingko’s larger spaces available for sterilisation, inoculation and incubation, we were able to increase the scale and batch-produce fabrics with mirrored organic patterns that measured 5m x 5m.
Void sees our existing prototypes for the bespoke tools that we had engineered to control the growth patterns of S.coelicolor scaled for larger textile prints. We ran two sets of experiments with these printing tools to achieve large-scale graphic prints, which helped us understand how the expanded scale of the new printing tools might influence existing protocols.
Assemblage 001 is the world’s first garment designed to be pigmented by S.coelicolor. During Faber Futures’ residency with Gingko, we developed a method of pattern cutting that enabled us to deconstruct a garment to its component pieces before in-vitro dyeing – meaning that every part could be given a distinct, highly specified finish. The development of Assemblage 001 marked another step towards a fully customisable dyeing process, and a milestone in the creation of in a new resource-efficient biofabrication method for making, colouring and patterning complex textile products.