"Heterotopia is capable of juxtaposing several layers, different and disruptive, in the same real place, but still getting along and living together in a world of their own."

“Of Other Spaces”, Author: Michel Foucault (1986)

Scientific Basis

Biowaste The key component of the biomaterial investigated was plant biomass, responsible for the durability, and flexibility of the developed formulations. Biowaste, a common term for food and garden waste, represents the major component of municipal waste in Europe reaching up to 34% [European Environment Agency, 2020a]. Industrial food waste is produced at every step of production and varies between 10% to 50% of each preceding step or the initial mass based on different studies [Girotto et al., 2015]. US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggested Food Recovery Hierarchy to contribute to circular economy principles. One of the principles of the inverse pyramid is the increase of carbon footprint moving downside through triers. Starting from (i) source reduction and (ii) donation of the surplus of food to poor people, towards (iii) application of food waste as an animal food supplement or (iv) for industrial purposes. The least alternative to direct dumping in the landfill is (v) composting or (vi) incineration [US Environmental Protection Agency, 2021]. Seeing the perspective of transforming my project from single piece production to industrial scale, my project aimed to potentially recover the biomass produced by industries. Instead of going to a landfill/incinerator, I propose to embed them into a polymeric matrix to enhance properties of the latter. Phytoremediation¶ Phytoremediation is a cost-effective plant-based environment clean-up technique from inorganic and organic pollutants based on plant ability to extract, concentrate and transport hazardous chemical compounds from soils. Based on the compound physicochemical parameters and plant metabolic capability to metabolize the compound, 5 different types of phytoremediation are distinguished. Phytostabilization is a process of metal mobility restriction by their precipitation in the root zone by symbiotic plant-microorganism interaction. Rhizofiltration is a process of pollutant adsorption inside the root. In case the pollutant is translocated after adsorption, phytoextraction is distinguished. Phytotransformation is related to the enzymatic metabolization of organic pollutants exclusively. Phytovolatilization is distinguished in case the pollutant was transformed into volatile compounds and transferred into air, which is true for organic, as well as inorganic pollutants. Root vegetables are well known for their ability to accumulate pollutants, which threaten the health of the consumers [Meharg, 2016; Zhang et al., 2017; Gao et al., 2021] and impose importance on heavy metal and pesticide content control in agricultural products [European Environment Agency, 2020b]. On the other hand, the phytoextraction ability of root vegetables, particularly carrots, was assessed by different scientific groups and came up with promising results [Babaeian et al., 2016; Szabò, Czellér, 2009; Ding et al., 2014]. However, there is limited literature addressing the final fate of plant biomass after the phytoremediation cycle is finished. A number of studies addressed possibilities of maximizing profit from the harvested contaminated plants by processing them [Cozma et al., 2021], but to my knowledge nobody focused on heavy metal recovery and plant residues application in a separate product. Traditional phytoremediation techniques end up with the recovery of metals from incinerated biomass [Fedje et al., 2021; Novo et al., 2017]. Such techniques require an extra amount of energy and produce carbon dioxide. Alternative treatments of heavy metal biomass include biochemical conversion for biodiesel production or composting [Cozma et al., 2021]. A contrasting technique that I suggest includes full utilization of the biomass produced after the remediation cycle. Metals can be extracted using sequential solvent extraction [Pavlíková et al., 2005], while the residual plant biomass will be utilized for biofabrication. The technique suggested by Pavlìková et al (2005) is unique allegedly being the only one preserving the biomass in form of plant cytoskeleton residues, a colourless fibrous mass. The study focused on substance extractions that bind heavy metals in spinach consisting of 7 sequential steps and utilizing 5 solvents, which can be optimized and shortened based on the necessities of the current project. It also states a significant decrease in heavy metal content (As, Cd, Cu, Zn) proved by the results of atomic absorption spectrometry. The final biomass in our project can be assessed with a similar technique proving to have hazardous compound levels below the 1 mg/kg thresholds in the final product according to the REACH legislation [REACH; Annexe XVII].


The Modular Structure

As a great principle of design and sustainable development, explore the Circular Fashion subject where I have always wanted to design design thinking about the 17 SDGs and this program has given me the tools to design in a Zero waste, regenerative and sustainable way. I wanted to make an organic design that can be extended and remade whenever you want. In addition to flowing with the body and with the design that it requires, since it can be used not only in fashion but also in furniture, interior design, even in gastronomy.

The idea

I have always been a great admirer of microscopic life and its forms, that is why I focused on the forms of Diatoms that I discovered in Ernst Haeckel’s book where you could see their forms and their colors, there I was able to take that form as an assembly base. , but I realized that I was getting waste so I used those cut parts and added some holes to turn them into new modules and in the end I got 5 modules with which I could link in themselves and be able to create completely organic and serial shapes like the fractal designs of nature.


Once you have the cutting lines of the design you have to separate the cuts as the main cutting layer, it is better to put the holes and then the cutting line of the modules. For this it is necessary to have separate layers in the file in Rhinoceros. Before you start cutting and uploading the file to the laser cutter, there are a few safety precautions to go over. One of the most important measures is order and clean because it keeps the machines in perfect condition so that we can continue enjoying the machines for years and years. then some specific measures, such as using a piece of wood to hold the biomaterial and give it better stability. After measuring all the security measures and parameters, you are ready to start it and wait for the machine to finish. I recommend you not to separate from it while it is cutting in case of any unforeseen event.


When you already have the modules cut, the next step is the assembly, it is the part of the process that I enjoy the most.


Heterotopia -Wearing Independence was a project

developed during the Fabricademy Postgrade course in

Textiles, Digital Fabrication and Biology.

In the Basque Biodesign Center.