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WORTH Partnership Project


Tiles made through an experimental hand-on manufacturing method tailored to the product's shape, size, and material


The message of the project

The project entails the development of custom casting technologies to exploit bacteria's ability to bind sand particles together. The project's partners believe that by allowing local communities to develop their environments, they can shift away from the typical procedures, materials, and attitudes that characterise the building industry. Their initiative presents a scalable, local solution to a global issue.


The idea behind the project 

Unruly Matters and BrynjaHonnun have collaborated on the BioTiles project, which intends to create biocomposite tiles using bacterial biomineralization in custom moulds of Icelandic volcanic sand.

Brynja Gudnadottir (Brynja Honnun) contacted Thora Arnardottir (Unruly Matters) in search of a biomaterial solution for a huge live-build project near Lake Thingvellir in Iceland: an eco-house, the first of its type to be erected in Iceland. Thora has been studying biocement for more than five years as part of her PhD at Newcastle University, designing bespoke injection moulding for the biomineralized material. This, along with the fact that practically all construction materials in Iceland are imported, and conventional building materials like wood, lime, and clay are scarce, prompted the concept of employing sand and biomineralization to create a local product. Iceland has a lot of sand since about a quarter of the island is a sand desert.

They opted to work with biotiles early on in the brainstorming phase. The selection was influenced in part by the method's present size constraint, as well as the fact that tiles are utilised in a variety of ways in structures and are intriguing materials to deal with. Hands-on trials are required to learn how to deal with the look of the tiles and to enhance the overall prototype.

The biotile manufacturing process may be defined as a steady flow of sand, liquid, and microorganisms. It is a partnership with a live entity that can only be managed partially. The result will always have some unpredictability, which adds to the allure of this strategy. Their shared journey strives to understand the restrictions and opportunities associated with scaling up a complicated biological process. From laboratory research through product development and production. Their key issue is to scale this process in terms of what works, not just in terms of design, but also in terms of how they can assist this living, expanding organism and how this can be done quickly and cost-effectively.

The collaboration is based on Thora's expertise and research in biofabrication, and it is critical to fine-tuning the procedure for the development of the tiles. She is in charge of developing material enhancements, designing and fabricating moulds, and conducting material testing that are similar to industrial standards for the built environment.

The tiles are created using an experimental hand-on manufacturing approach that is tailored to the product's form, size, and material. Because the majority of the material manufacturing takes place in Iceland, the Brynja Project controls and supports the fabrication process on a local level. Brynja delivers a critical client perspective on an attractive and functional interior tile as well as a larger consideration for sustainability in the built environment.


What next?

They hope to expand the moulding process and build a prototype of sustainable biotiles made with bacteria that bond sand granules. Along with these examples, which will vary in size, shape, and design, they hope that this effort will provide us with a clearer picture of what collaboration and financing are required.



Thora H Arnardottir - Unruly Matters

United Kingdom

Brynja Gudnadottir - Brynja Honnun