LABS: Future Interiors

A healthy and sustainable interior functions as a living ecosystem in balance. How can we design interiors as ecosystems? Our interiors consist for the most part of an invisible, but very essential ‘mass’: air. As several studies from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) show, the air quality of the built environment is one of today’s crucial challenges, and poor air quality can become a threat to our health. This is especially true for public buildings like schools and offices. In the past years, we conducted extensive research on how to translate systems and reactions from nature into architectural objects that function in symbiosis with the users. ⁠

From this starting point, our technical ‘garden’ of bionic textile installations HORTUS BIONICA improves indoor climate and air quality by mimicking the way plants and flowers move and react. Yet, taking this idea of biomimicry a step further, the use of available micro-ecosystems offers a much greater range of potential. With the research project Living Aero Bacterial Systems (LABS): Future Interiors, we want to make our indoor climate healthier and more sustainable with living textiles developed with microorganisms. ⁠

LABS: Future Interiors takes kombucha scoby biofilm as its raw material and conducts research into bacteria grown textiles as 100% biodegradable interior elements and as a substrate for air-purifying plants. During LABS: Future Interiors research process we developed the material KOMBUTEX. The material offers smart opportunities to tackle the challenges of indoor air quality towards a more healthy environment. This kombucha-based material has the power to make our future interiors grow and evolve to become alive, regenerative and interactive spaces. In the long term, KOMBUTEX is a catalyst for sustainable and biodiverse indoor ecosystems.

The first KOMBUTEX results are showcased at the Embassy of Health during the Dutch Design Week 2020, offering a smart and innovative solution to the spatial and social challenges of today and to the theme of Urban Transformations. During this virtual DDW exhibition we will present our pilot interior product: the desk divider KOMBOUquet, which includes different varieties of KOMBUTEX: soft and hard, translucent and blind, 2d and 3d, alive and in symbiosis with other cultures. This ensemble demonstrates the versatility of the novel material to create healthy, living environments that control the airflow and purify the air.

LABS: Living Interiors is a collaboration between Studio Samira Boon and the HybridFormsLab by Raoul Frese / Biophysics of Photosynthesis VU Amsterdam and Waag Society. The project is supported by the Grant Programme Architecture of the Creative Industries Fund NL.


As a part of the LABS research process, we organised a series of (online) meetups together with Waag. During these meetups, we discussed with experts from the field how to pave the road from a small scale, lab-grown, living material towards a user-accepted, trendsetting, competitive interior applicable product.

LABS: Future Interiors meetup #3
The LABS: Future Interiors meetup #3 took place online on Thursday 22 October 2020. This third and concluding LABS meetup was organised as part of the public programme of the Embassy of Health at the Dutch Design Week, contributing to the theme of Urban Transformations and the creation of healthy environments. Experts, including Ren Yee (UNsense), Edwin Gardner (Studio Monnik) and Raoul Freze (Hybrid Forms Lab VU Amsterdam) discussed shared ambitions, followed by a panel moderated by Jeroen Junte (DesignDigger).
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Integration of mosses on KOMBUTEX

LABS: Future Interiors meetup #2
During our second meetup for the LABS: Future Interiors project we talked about how the current crisis can become a catalyst for sustainable innovation in bio-design. Moderator Jeroen Junte, initiator of DesignDigger, spoke to behavioural economist Eva van den Broek (Behavioural Insights Foundation), material matchmaker Els Zijlstra (Material MatchMaker), researcher Iza Awad (VU Amsterdam) and Anna Sitnikova (Studio Samira Boon).
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LABS: Future Interiors meetup #1
The first meetup in the series of three questioned: How can we make our indoor climate healthier by developing new materials from living organisms and what role designers and architects can undertake to contribute to the development of healthy indoor ‘gardens’? Many people showed up and the presentations worked well via online video conferencing. Samira Boon introduced the meeting by presenting various projects on aerobacterial systems, like a fabric that improves air quality and responds to the different seasons. With: Lorena Trebi (Sapienza University of Rome), Sandrine d’Haene (VU Amsterdam), artists Evelina Domnitch & Dmitry Gelfand, and Samira Boon (Studio Samira Boon).
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Different colour samples


Work-in-progress at the VU Amsterdam

Sample of KOMBUTEX

KOMBUTEX is 100% biodegradable