If there's one thing in the world that there is an abundance of, it's bacteria. So imagine if we could harness the by-product of bacteria to "grow" building materials. These incredible Xylinum Cones do just that - each cone is made out of cellulose created by organically grown microorganisms. Designers Stefan Schwabe and Jannis Hülsen are making these objects in order to prove that biotechnological materials can feasibly become part of the production process of a variety of different materials.
The Cones are produced through a hands-on process of growing a specific kind of bacteria over the course of three weeks. Within this period, each cellulose cone ripens in a suspended mould and is then shaped in an organic collective design inspired by natural patterns such as those in honeycombs or reptile scales. Different material properties can be added through chemical processes to alter the end result, making the final material versatile and applicable in a wide range of product designs. The material is characterized by high purity, strength, mold-ability, and increased water-holding ability.
The designers aim to demonstrate the viability of growing objects through a sustainable and transparent production cycle. These new manufacturing routines could become part of our daily life and reshape the way we think about the production of material objects. The Xylinum Cones are part of the Ventura Lambrate exhibit at this year’s Milan Design Week.