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Gluten – as you’ve never seen it before

Published 19/03/2013

When students from the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design's textiles programme got their hands on Innventia's gluten bioplastic, the results took many unexpected and magical forms. Working on the theme of "the secret life of a material" during a one week workshop, the students were encouraged to push the boundaries and were tasked with devising interesting new applications for the material that Innventia's Mikael Gällstedt had given them.

The results were showcased at the Stockholm Furniture Fair in February, and materials researcher Mikael was impressed with the results:
"It was fantastic to see how the material can be transformed and used."

Sofie Fischer lamp
© Sofie Fischer, 2013

Wheat gluten, a by-product of starch production, can be used to make renewable plastics for applications such as barrier films. At Innventia, Mikael has been working with the material for a number of years.

"We have previously developed applications using gluten such as moulded trays, and an earlier collaboration with the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design involved creating a chair. But I've never seen anyone sew with gluten before!"

Shirt by Victoria Cleverby
© Victoria Cleverby, 2013

Mikael was involved at the beginning of the week-long workshop, and handed over the ingredients together with a recipe and instructions for mixing together the gluten plastic.

"It's like cooking a new dish. You have to follow the recipe the first time, but then you're free to make changes. And that's what the students did. They spent a week working with the material, mixing in colours and food ingredients to create new smells and textures."
See a film from the workshop, in the links to the right.

Secret life pattern
© Secret Life, 2013

Innventia has worked regularly with the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design for several years, and the exchange is mutual.

"I've acted as supervisor for many students' degree projects where they've wanted to work with new, renewable materials. If they ask for suggestions for materials, I can always offer them something, depending on which properties they think are important. The students are dedicated to their work, and they take new information on board quickly. Working with them is always a pleasure. Their creativity offers new approaches to a material's applications."  

© Lisa Nilsson & Anneli Tellberg, 2013