Bacterial pigments.

new methods in a sustainable realm

MOnica louise hartvigsen

PhD fellow Lab for sustainability, Design School Kolding, Denmark


This PhD project is conducted as research through design. It explores sustainable coloring methods for textile design practice using pigment producing bacteria. A design program of several experiments is conducted, researching the aesthetic properties as well as technical properties. The project is a part of an emerging design field merging biology and design, where living matter or living material is used for designing. These thoughts of combining biology and design are not new to the field of design, as a fundamental idea of the Bauhaus school was to combine science, art and technology. A material exploration is applied to explore the colored pigments as well as the bacteria producing the colored pigments to uncover the aesthetic potential of bacterial pigments both regarding color and decoration. A focus is directed towards textiles as the material to be colored and decorated, since the textile industry is a major contributor to the environmental and climate crisis. A ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) laboratory is created at Design School Kolding, which will set the frame for the experiments, also giving this new approach of designing a place in a danish design institution. The outcome of the studies are new sustainable methods which can be applied in textile design practice.


Educated master of design from the Royal Danish Academy and bachelor in design from Design School Kolding. In addition, she has studied bachelor level courses in Molecular Biology for approx. 2 years fulltime study. In her practice she tries to push the sustainable agenda and use her multidisciplinary skills in the design practice to create designs from and with living organisms and materials in a collaborative manner with respect to all species. She dreams of developing the design practice to fit the future.