PORTFOLIO | Colourless Colourants
Nature's Structural Colour

A potential (sustainable) alternative to colourants

I started this project with an interest in structural colour: a mechanism in nature that utilises light to colour the world around us in a special way. Rather than pigment, transparant nanocrystals within the scales, skin or feathers selectively reflect only certain wavelengths of light. Which means we perceive the bird as green, whereas in fact there is no pigment.

For me it would be an ultimate goal to replace dyes - and the chemicals involved to pigment any material - with a coating of nano-structures. And on top of that to make this out of a renewable, natural material (e.g. chitin) would be a farfetched yet amazing challenge.

Since I won’t be able to work with nano-scaled structures I created scaled up the nanocrystals to a workable crystal size. My aim of shining white light in the crystal and only getting the blue wavelengths reflecting back, succeeded! However, the direction of the lightbeam need to be very specific and the effect is not easily visible in a bright light environment.

"Rather than execute your ideas on paper, execute them in the workshop, preferably with the help of expert makers and expert collaborators. We want you to have more ambition as to what you want to achieve and really go for it!" Kieren Jones

Project: Power of the Crystal

Coaches: Marta Giralt Dunjo and Kieren Jones

External Experts: Simora Marko of Swarovski

Client: Swarovski and Central Saint Martins

Year: 2019

Duration: ~150 hours, 4 weeks

View Project Report

View Process Book