How about wearing a dress made of algae? Or eating your salad from a box made of yeasts? Yes, we know – it sounds strange, but that’s bio-design. The bio-design introduces a new way of working with living organisms such as algae, bacteria, yeasts, acids, modifying, experimenting, in order to obtain healthy, strong material that will have a useful purpose – from packaging to clothing.

Bio-design has been emerging in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the last few years, pioneered by Maja Halilović, who is the only bio-designer in our country. Having in mind the fast-changing world around us, we decided to spread the wisdom of future to young people who might find themselves wearing a scarf dyed with bacteria in their adulthood.

On July 28, a collaborative bio-design workshop with Maja was held as part of the project Green Economy for a Greener Society. The activity was designed to strengthen the capacity of potential young entrepreneurs (high school students) about the principles and steps needed for implementing green business and their positive impact on the environment.

The workshop was structured as an interactive, professional lecture in which participants could ask questions that lead to a better understanding of the topic, given that this is a completely new direction in design. The workshop was divided into:

  • Module 1 – introduction of bio-design concept, its origin, its definition. During Module 1, participants compared the design industry from today and the design industry when applying bio-design. This Module also tackled the dangers of bio-design and explained the process of biomaterial formation and their application.
  • Module 2 – showed the work of designers in the field of bio-design, a concise research in this area.
  • Module 3 – introduced the participants to the composition of the material, explained their properties and provided the participants with the opportunity to find the application of the material themselves
  • Module 4 – contained a conclusion about everything learned that participants brought together.

The workshop was attended by 19 students of First Gymnasium – Sarajevo, who were extremely excited to learn more about bio-design and amazed by unusual materials created in Maja’s laboratory!

“We need bio-design in the fight against climate change, as an aid to the system in which we live and work. With bio-design, even discarded, disused textiles are rapidly degradable and harmless to the environment, benefiting the soil they decompose in. The very fact that we can get textiles in collaboration with a simple living organism – bacteria, proteins, algae – is a completely new, revolutionary branch of design.” – says Maja Halilović.

Apart from educational activities, the project also entails a promotional video campaign featuring 3 local green economy businesses: Maja Halilovic – BioDesign, Stribor – Contemporary Fashion Brand and Wood Surgery – Reparation, Restauration, Redesign. The videos are currently in the making and will be launched soon! Stay tuned!

Financial support for this project was provided by the European Union through the NAGE – Networking and Advocacy for Green Economy program, implemented by the Network for Rural Development of Northern Macedonia in cooperation with the Networks for Rural Development of Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.