Applications in design

Design and Biocosture


Biomimetic streetlights

Public lighting is expensive, it requires a lot of energy and generates pollution because of the construction materials used for the lamps, the extensive use of electricity and infrastructure maintenance. Although it has flaws, it is essential for the current cities, which cannot live without it.

In order to combat its negative effects, a biomimetic proposal from the International University of Catalonia wants to eliminate artificial lighting and replace it with urban vegetation hybridized with the bioluminescent molecules of the Aequorea victoria jellyfish, which absorb sunlight throughout the day and use it to create light during the night.

Replacing all public lighting with vegetation is a great way to improve the city’s ecological status. It would mean to stop consuming electrical and/or fossil energy and to stop depending on metallic and plastic materials to produce lanterns (which, at the end of their useful life, become an artificial waste). Biomimetic lamps are energetically clean, sustainable and natural.

The project, which was planned for Barcelona, is especially effective in areas with a high density of traffic, where maintenance costs of a regular lighting system are extremely expensive in order to guarantee a safe road.

Photo: Genetic Architectures Research Group.



The textile industry has a huge environmental impact. In this sense, Biocouture appears as a solution to this, by rethinking how clothing is produced and applying a biomimetic vision in the process. What it proposes is to create clothing with microorganisms instead of using materials with a vegetal and petrochemical origin. That way, it generates less waste and, at the same time, avoids materials that can be harmful to our bodies so we can build a more sustainable clothing industry.

Biocouture is possible thanks to the pure cellulose microfibres that some strains produce during sugar fermentation. They adhere to each other forming a dense and flexible layer that is then added to a solution of green tea with sugar, yeast and other natural components. After two or three weeks, a layer is formed on its surface that when removed can be used in several ways. Its appearance and texture are similar to artificial leather and can be easily tinted with natural dyes to create garments. However, what makes it different from regular clothing material is that, since it has a vegetal origin, it can be recycled and composted at the end of its useful life.