Blond and Bieber may sound like the name of an unfortunate Justin Bieber-related meme, but thankfully, it’s a young design studio responsible for some of the most innovative new work to come out of Berlin—or anywhere, for that matter.
Most recently, founders Essi Johanna Glomb and Rasa Weber won the Make Me! competition at Poland’s Lodz Design Festival for Algaemy, a system for printing textiles with dye made from algae. What started as an investigation into the artistic potential of microalgae (with the cooperation of German research center Fraunhofer Institute for Mikroalgae) resulted in a method for turning algae into a medium for printing—with some surprising results.
The beech-wood cart holds beakers that grow the algae, filter it, and distill it into a substance that can be naturally tinted and made into a kind of paste that’s then applied to a pattern and rolled out over lengths of cloth (watch the dreamy video, above, to see the process).
The really exciting part comes next. Because of the biodynamic nature of the microalgae, the patterns created aren’t light-stable, and change color over time. That doesn’t mean they gradually fade; instead, they change “from green to an intense blue, [or] from a pale pink to a bright red and eventually orange.”
Following a collaboration on a small collection with German fashion designer Yolania Gortana, Blond and Bieber were recognized by the Core77 Design Awards, the 2014 DMY Award, Bundespreis Ecodesign 2014, and have been nominated for the 2015 German Design Award.