We’ve been rather busy whilst the lab is in hibernation working on a number of very cool projects in the UK and in Europe, and we’re really excited to announce the first one that launched today; Taste of Tomorrow powered by Samsung explores how tech advancements are redefining the way we grow, cook and eat – both for today and tomorrow.
Hosted at Samsung KX in Coal Drops Yard is a hydroponic garden powered by SmartThings with a deep water culture garden with spices, fruits and herbs and a Microgreens farm producing a range of tasty nutrient rich greens. Green Lab co-designed the hydroponic garden working with a multi-disciplinary team of installation specialists and fabricators. The hydroponic garden is accessible to all visitors with a Samsung Tab S7+ device controlling aspects of lighting, temperature, fans and lighting spectrum.
Taste of Tomorrow explores our relationship with food and future trends in how we Grow, Cook and Eat; and we were really excited to work with musician, Stephen Manderson @professorgreen and Cook and Photographer, Sara Kiyo Popowa @shisodelicious in recording three unique film shorts which you can watch on the Samsung KX website.
Like all other makerspaces, Fab Labs, co-working spaces, incubators and shared labs the Covid-19 pandemic has hit us hard, making it very difficult to operate and provide regular access to lab services and equipment. Green Lab is no different and in early April we decided to put the entire lab into hibernation, closing our doors for access, storing our equipment and rethinking how we operate in a post-Covid world; the pandemic also co-incided with our 2020 lease ending.
We spent most of April and May packing and sorting all the equipment for storage, surprisingly five Luton vans loads left our site in Bermondsey destined for storage on a farm; enormous thanks to our Lee Valley farmer.
As for the future, we’re working on a new strategy and plan to re-open Green Lab in late summer (July/August), with a new space for early stage idea development, new education programme and two new amazing projects we’ve been working on in the #closedloop #urbanfarming area.
Naturally we miss so many things from our Bermondsey lab but we’re looking forward to opening a new lab and sharing news of the projects.
Green Lab are excited to announce the opening of a Fab City Hub in London.
The Fab City initiative is leading and enabling a shift away from the industrial paradigm of Product-in Trash-out in the context of urban environments, specifically how cities tend to function. The intiative is driven by a need to enable the return of manufacture to cities supported by a locally productive citizens developing and creating products for local needs, producing food, materials and energy locally; minimising waste and generate a greater sense of self worth and awareness of sustainable circular systems.
Green Lab hosted the a launch event and open workshop on the 28th November 2019 with over 40 participants from diverse backgrounds working collectively to try to answer three key questions relevant to development of Fab City London.
Who is critical for the development of Fab City London and why?
What are the stakeholders agendas in relation to Fab City London?
Special thanks goes to Tomas Diez, Skyping in from Colombia to introduce and open the proceedings, talking through the Fab City Stack.
Green Lab has committed to host regular meetups through a newly formed group designed to bring together the Fab City London Collective in 2020 – join to be part of the conversation and keep informed of what’s happening at the Fab City Hub in Green Lab.
Research resident Midushi Kochhar tells of her experience working at the Lab and exhibiting at this years London Design Festival, 2019.
‘I spent 12 weeks at Green Lab as part of their research residency program, working in the Material Lab to experiment and create alternative material solutions, with a focus on food waste and biobinders. The project was part of my final M.A. Industrial Design studies at Central St. Martins, UAL and therefore was both challenging and exciting at the same time.
The research started by testing some initial recipes from Materiom, and after a lot of trial and error, I was able to derive my own concoctions that seemed promising. The team at Green Lab were always available to provide their input and feedback and the open-minded, multidisciplinary community played a crucial role in the way the project was framed. Continuous, casual and engaging discussions were a part of our daily routine there and the material lab gave me the right space and time to conduct my experiments.
Kate Krebs said that “Waste is really a design flaw.”, a statement I agree with and ethos that directed my final outcomes. Therefore, on the quest for creating sustainable products, the project concentrated on a conscious material driven approach to upcycling food waste. Traditional resources are finite and expensive but waste is abundant and cheap. Identifying the by-products of the poultry industry and reimagining them in new contexts, I conceived an original and tangible collection called Eggware.
Made from waste eggshells that I collected from cafes around King’s Cross, Eggware products are biodegradable and locally made. The disposable tableware is ergonomically enhanced to support the act of eating whilst standing in a street food scenario. Once their use and function is over, you can literally crush and throw them in the compost as they are designed to degrade.
This project drives a positive change through value addition to a classed waste resource, spreading awareness and revising the common perception about discarded materials.
It was both fun and challenging to develop the material recipe for Eggware, but having gone through that process it enabled me to fully understand the material properties. The material is porous, naturally fire retardant and has a course texture, meaning it can be used for various applications, including interior wall panels, plant pots, high-end home décor objects and even construction material.
Designing and mastering material making can take years of research and development, but I am happy with the outcomes that I have achieved so far. I wish to continue my research to make Eggware more robust and long lasting. Eggware is now being displayed at various material libraries around London and with the support of Green Lab, was showcased as part of London Design Festival at Biodesign Here Now and the V&A Exhibition Road Day of Design.
I was pleased to have some really interesting conversations with well-informed and inquisitive people and was excited to share my learning and knowledge with them. Having recently graduated from university, these exhibitions gave me the opportunity to be more visible to a wider audience and gauge feedback from people from both design and non-design backgrounds. I am proud to have been part of design shows that highlight future thinking and I am grateful to Green Lab for fostering sustainability driven ventures that are determined to make a difference.’
Grey Consulting has announced a strategic partnership with Green Lab: Grey Consulting and Green Lab are on a mission to radically change the way food is produced and consumed.
The partnership allows Grey Consulting to provide clients with expertise and innovative thinking when it comes to designing, new sustainable food systems that balance health, nutrition and ecological principles whilst putting people and the planet at their heart.
Grey Consulting is a new kind of strategic consultancy, combining analytical rigour with lateral creative thinking at the speed of a start-up. The team is working with clients in sectors as diverse as banking, public health, retail, FMCG and entertainment, and reshaping the way that businesses grow through its verified Wholebrain approach.This approach allows businesses to break down problems in a neurodiverse way, identify unique positioning and stand out from the crowd.
WholeBrain thinking allows Grey Consulting to be even more diverse and to attract partnerships with innovators at the bleeding edge. This, married with the group’s focus on sustainability, are two key factors that have formed the collaboration with Green Lab.
Leo Rayman, CEO of Grey Consulting, said: “Green Lab is an incredible group that harnesses technology to find simple solutions to complex food problems. We can’t wait to get going and to work with GreenLab towards a more sustainable planet, as climate change and sustainability is the ‘mother of all complex system’. We can only resolve it by working collectively to create systematic change.”
Andrew Gregson, Founder and Director Green Lab, said: “Green Lab and Grey Consulting team have a shared a philosophy of creative innovation and nurturing radical ideas, and when the opportunity presented itself, I was very excited to bring bleeding-edge food systems thinking into a partnership with Grey Consulting.”
We’re opening the lab at the weekends to run our regular hands on aquaponic workshop: Design and build your own urban aquaponic farm.
We’ll show you how to grow your own food using fish waste and a water recirculating system. Using low cost equipment and recycled materials you’ll learn how to source, design and build a system for your home or garden.
You’ll come away with a better understanding of
How to design an urban aquaponic system
Learn about which fish to chose, and how to look after then
Grow leafy greens and fruiting plants
Fish biology, water chemistry and basic farming techniques
We have a limited number of places. Tickets are £120 (ex fees)
The lemon project was a collaboration between Seedlip, Lyaness and Green Lab, developed by our Material Lab curator and researcher Anoushka Cole. With a shared passion for fighting the battle against food waste and championing closed loop design, the lab set about to utilise the citrus waste that the bar produced daily.
Taking the lemon husks from there in-house freshly squeezed lemon juice, Anoushka created a bespoke recipe to turn this waste into coasters, for Lyaness to use once again back at the bar. Through a process of research and development and working directly with the Lyaness team to give hands on feedback we successfully produced a series of 100% organic and biodegradable lemon coasters that could be used multiple times.
The project weaves an important narrative of reutilising our ‘waste’ into something of value that also demonstrates a circular design system. By changing the notion of what a luxury experience should involve we are bringing waste to the front of the establishment and demonstrating its beautiful potential.
“Seedlip is a Nature Company on a mission to change the way the world drinks with the highest quality non-alcoholic options.” This project is Volume 1, in a 4 part sustianability series in collaboration with them. Over the next year we will be producing similar projects, highlighting how the food and drinks industry has the potential to change the publics perception of waste.
Lyaness is a bar located at the Sea Containers created by multi award winning Ryan Chetiyawardana AKA Mr Lyan. The bar is dedicated to showcasing incredible ingredients rather than just cocktails. This notion is taken a step further with the introduction of the lemon coasters, showcasing lemons in an entirely new way.
If you have a project in mind that you would like to discuss with us please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the past 3 years Green Lab has been involved in an ongoing european funded project – Open Design & Manufacturing (OD&M). This project has involved a consortium of 10 other institutions including Higher education, Businesses and Maker spaces, working together on projects that focus on knowledge exchange and the notion of open design and manufacturing.
What is OD&M:
‘OD&M is a Knowledge Alliance dedicated to create and support communities of practices around the Open Design & Manufacturing paradigm, making the most of openness, sharing and collaboration to create new value chains of innovation in design and manufacturing oriented to the social good.
We are a community of students, university professors, researchers, makers, entrepreneurs and OD&M practitioners distributed across Europe and China. We pursue multi-disciplinarity, horizontal collaboration, challenge-based working and collective discovery as the salient features of empowering learning environments leading to social innovation in design and production.’
Projects that Green Lab has developed as part of the consortium:
Growing space + Recycled plastics project
We initially took part in the Growing Space project exhibited at Arts Work of the Future at the Tate Exchange, a project developed in collaboration with students & staff from the UALDigital Maker Collective. Following on from this we ran a co-design workshop based brief to build upon the initial ideas generated for the TATE exchange exhibit. The second stage of this project investigated open source and flat pack furniture, end of life materials, urban agriculture and sustainable food systems. After multiple co-design workshops where ideas of accessiblity, modularity, sustainability and feasibility were all explored, alongside various idea generation and prototyping exercises the group focused on working with recycled food safe plastics to develop planters that could be used to grow food hydroponically.
We ran a 12 week live brief with 12 students from MA Industrial Design, UAL. This was an open design for sustainable living project which explored how open design-led processes can be used to develop future products, materials, new processes or services that use algae as the core material. The project gave students the chance to work hands on with algae as a material as well as speculate its future potential. We developed a temporary Material Lab at Green Lab for the students to utilise during this period, conducting material research and experimentation.
After the success of the Future Algae brief – we saw the potential need for a material laboratory enabling students and designer makers to work in the realm of material research. We built the lab from old industrial kitchen equipment and developed a messy space for experimentation that could easily be cleaned at the end of each use. With future materials and the development of open source recipes becoming a growing area of concern for many practitioners we see the material lab as a vital space for a community of like minded designers to grow and collaborate. The material library is a catalogue of various sustainable material samples, collected from both small scale makers and industry. The library is a tool to inform, inspire and encourage users to consider material choices at the starting point of designing a product.
With the launch of our Material Lab we offered 3 students access to the space as part of an open source research residency.
Midushi Kochhar Midushi was an MA Industrial Design student at CSM, UAL whilst taking part in the research residency. She utilised the opportunity to work on her project – A Waste Project – using waste eggshells and chicken feathers from the poultry industry to produce biodegradable single use tableware. Frustrated by the single use plastics epidemic Midushi combined her waste resources with various algaes to develop 100% organic composite materials. At the end of her residency she shared the recipe & method she had developed whilst using the material lab.
Riina Oun Riina Oun, an MA Material Futures student from CSM, UAL, took part in our research residency with the aim to develop a vegan leather alternative. With an established career as leather glove maker, Riina wanted to find a more sustainable material that could offer the same properties as gloving leather. Using bacterial cellulose to grow her own material Riina utilised the lab to grow large quantities of Kombcuha Scoby, which was then turned into a composite material by adding a bio binder. Riina shared the recipe and method she developed whilst using the material lab via our wiki.
Valentina Dipietro Valentina was an MA Textile Design student from the RCA whilst taking part in the research residency. She utilised the opportunity to continue working on her final project – mychrome – growing mycelium with agricultural waste to create interior surface panels. Mycelium is the root system of mushrooms and can be grown on waste organic substrates and it offers great properties for both thermo insulation and sound insulation. Mycelium requires a sterilised and controlled environment to grow, which the material lab offered. Valentina shared the recipe and method she developed whilst utilising the material lab via our wiki.
Caroline Wood, a PhD student at the University of Sheffield (studying parasitic weeds that infect food crops) attended the Circular Economy Club’s event hosted at our openhouse in May, to learn more about the labs involvement in the current bioplastic debate. Since, Caroline has continued her research and published an interesting article on whether bioplastics are the answer to tackling the growing single use plastic issue.
In her feature Are bioplastics the solution to plastic waste?, Caroline lists the different types of bioplastics available and describes their composition. She provides some transparency on how bioplastics are recycled and composted, an area that is increasingly coming into question – with some bioplastics requiring specialist facilities, separate to the recycling of conventional plastics. Moreover, she compares the environmental footprint of bioplastics with the impact of conventional plastics, with some bioplastics using raw materials, putting equal pressure on sea and land resources.
For this reason, Caroline advocates that it would be better to use waste materials for bioplastic production instead of creating a new need for resource intensive raw materials. By doing this, most of these waste materials would be available to the public. Caroline explains that “locally-produced, abundantly available waste materials […] [offer] the chance to move plastic production from large corporations to community ventures”. Caroline also met with Green Lab residents Materiom whilst at the event. Materiom are an online open source database that share bioplastic recipes and therefore encourage anybody to create their own bioplastic materials. An important area of there research includes utilising waste materials as a resource, as well as localised manufacture and recipes that can be adapted to suit location.
However, for bioplastics to become mainstream, there are many challenges to overcome. One example Caroline mentions is the possible food allergies linked to some bioplastics’ raw materials, with some ingredients containing gluten for example, having a negative affect on individuals with coeliac disease.
In conclusion, the real issue is our single-use society. The most effective and sustainable way to move forward would be to reduce and reuse certain products and materials, with bioplastics acting as an alternative option only when reusing items is unachievable – ie the medical industry.
Candyce is a design and material researcher who is also a baker and fermenter. She has now her Local Forms project to the Lab. Having done her masters in Material Futures at Central Saint Martins, many of her projects are often driven and dictated by materials.
Her current project, Local Forms, rose from the constant daily battle of having to work with bad quality proving baskets. A banneton, also known as a proving basket, is integral to the process of making bread and as a practising baker she is in contact with them on a daily basis. The dough proves in the banneton over night before it’s turned out, dusted off and baked in the oven.
The bannetons currently used in most artisan bakeries are either made from wood pulp or woven from wicker. There is an outcry for objects to be made from more reliable sources and materials. Currently there is a big conversation amongst the baking community around how the quality of the wood pulp banneton has dropped over the years. To kickstart the project Candyce reached out to bakers across the country : both home bakers and bakers on a larger scale. Her mission was to understand the relationship between baker and banneton.
An important fact came up through this research : most, if not all, wood pulp bannetons are made in Germany by a large company, who are not very approachable. They have claimed that nothing has changed about their banneton production, but bakers who use and rely on them on a daily basis argue otherwise. This gave Candyce the motivation to explore and tap into current UK waste streams aiming to bring the banneton back, stronger and more local than the previous years.
While exploring with bio plastics and coffee waste (that was being collected from the cafe which is part of the bakery where she works) she stumbled into the realm of mycelium. Being a home grower of vegetables, she wondered what it would be like to ‘grow’ a banneton. Mycelium is an amazing organism that finds nutrients from what we deem as waste. Through this new found interest and awe in the mycelium kingdom Candyce’s project became about how we can localise and grow bannetons from the local waste.
The ‘Myco-farm’ started off in a very domestic setting : a room in the house and wasn’t too successful during the winter months due to lack of temperature control and contamination. It was put on hold for a bit while she took part in the BioHack Academy at the WAAG in Amsterdam. While doing the 10 week course, amongst loads of other tings, she learnt basic lab etiquette and but also had the time to teach herself about cultivating mycelium on a very small and sterile scale.
On returning back to London her current challenge is to get the mycelium growing strong enough to not have to be in a completely sterile environment and is now also experimenting with different shapes and materials that the mycelium will grown in.
One major factor of this project is the cost. From the get go it was essential that the project cost a minimal as possible, from the mycelium starters to the substrate that the mycelium is grown on. So far everything is collected locally, coffee and flour waste from the bakery that Candyce works at, saw dust and wood chip from a local carpenters.
As with everything that is grown, it’s impossible to tell if its successful right away. LocalForms has become a game of patience and waiting, a bit like baking.