Take a peak at these futuristic sunglasses made of bacteria

Cinzia Ferrari’s project CyanoFabbrica brilliantly maximizes impact through innovative sustainable design.

With an interest in transparency of design communications and innovation practices against wasteful processes, Italian biodesign researcher Cinzia Ferrari chose to fabricate organic sunglasses frames as the output for her project – ‘CyanoFabbrica’

CyanoFabbrica by Cinziaa Ferrari
©Cinzia Ferrari

Due to the rising concerns against UV rays and popularity of sunglasses as a fashion item – this sector is a field where greenwashing is common but undetected.

“Co-supervised by Dr. Paolo Bombelli and inspired by research from the University of Colorado Boulder that demonstrated how strong bricks could be created through cyanobacteria biomineralization – I aimed to harness cyanobacteria’s intrinsic ability to biomineralize” says Ferrari.

Photosynthetic, single-celled organisms found in a variety of habitats – Cyanobacteria and the way it binds its substrate played a fundamental role in her design approach contributing to its final aesthetics. 

© Cinzia Ferrari

Influenced by patterns viewed during microscopic observations merged with her ideas, the fascinating shape of these frames are truly one-of-a-kind. 

Despite uniformity in the process – no two sunglasses are the same as the materialization stems from a living system leading to unruliness in its form. 

This is particularly noticeable in the pattern of the base – made using biomineralized samples as a substrate, to demonstrate its remanufacturing property.

While cyanobacteria pigment phycocyanin was used as a print – the temples and front of the frame are made out of biomineralized material. 

“My fabrication process could be optimized to offset its emissions since the bacteria is kept in constant growth allowing photosynthesis to happen and the product is designed to be remanufactured” Ferrari adds.

At the end of its life cycle – these eclectic sunglasses can be further destroyed and used as a substrate for new items. 

CyanoFabbrica by Cinzia Ferrari
© Cinzia Ferrari
© Cinzia Ferrari


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