London-based studio Cohen Van Balen wants to clean up the common pigeon’s dirty image. While most of us see the feathered being as little more than a pest, the studio sees the pigeon as valuable life form that has been bred look pretty, deliver post, spy and race for many generations. To give the pigeon even more credibility, Cohen Van Balen created a series of probes within a project called ‘Pigeon D’Or’, an experiment that aims to turn the urban-feathered creature’s poop into soap. So how is it done? Read on to find out.

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One of the project’s components is a pigeon house that is attachable to a windowsill so one can have a controlled space to feed the birds with specially designed bacteria created with the help of biochemist James Chappell. Feeding the pigeons with the Lactobacillus bacteria (naturally found in the digestive tract) can modify their metabolism so that they create tiny bits of soap with every dropping.

While we can’t say that we’ll be lathering up with their droppings ourselves, the soap could provide pigeons with some positive marketing and help reverse the idea that they are dirty and disease ridden. In fact, they could help clean our cities with their poop!

You can watch a short film on the idea here.

+ Cohen Van Balen

Photo © Cohen Van Balen