Living Paint for Living Buildings

Posted Dec. 15, 2011 by Lionel Billiet

Lionel is excited to announce that he is one of four contestants to have won this year's Designers & Artists 4 Genomics Award. The €25,000 award will allow him to pursue a personal art-science project in collaboration with the Kluyver Centre for Genomics and Industrial Fermentation, investigating the possibilities for decorating concrete buildings with a "living paint" made of lichen.

Lichens are a fascinating form of symbiosis between a microscopic green alga and a fungus, resulting in a highly self-sufficient living system that is well adapted to unfriendly environments such as the surfaces of stones and rocks. The project will investigate possibilities of inoculating concrete surfaces with a particular cocktail of fungal spores and algal cells in order to induce the growth of a layer of lichen on them. Lichen as self-sufficient living paint - transforming concrete walls into sensitive and aesthetically intriguing surfaces.

The winners of the contest were announced last week at an award ceremony in Leiden. The project will run from January to June 2012.

The Designers & Artists 4 Genomics Award, now in its second year, is the first of its kind in the Netherlands, and explores the exciting and novel possibilities emerging at the intersection of design, artistic practice, and the life sciences.