Nutritious algae beats power woes

Nutritious algae beats power woes

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Credit: Jacob Douenias & Ethan Frier
Designers Jacob Douenias and Ethan Frier, think that spirulina algae could play a role in our homes as lighting and furniture, producing food, fuel, heat and light. In their collection Living Things, which was displayed in Pittsburgh’s Mattress Factory Museum of Contemporary Art in Pittsburgh, the pair of Carnegie-Mellon University graduates demonstrated the different uses of cyanobacteria, or more specifically, spirulina, which was “chosen for its rich green hue, light absorbency, and culinary qualities,” and cultivated in hand-blown glass vessels filled with alkaline water. The designers created three “vignettes” of dining room, living room and a control centre  each lit with a different version of these glowing algal farms mounted on walls or set into tables. In addition to heat and light, these algal incubators can produce food for the home. Spirulina can be transformed into a powder that is over 60 percent protein by weight. Packed with nutrients, it can be added to smoothies and other food. So might we be growing food by virtue of having these kinds of lamps? Tackling issues like alternative energy and food security all at once, the integration of living matter into multifunctional home furnishings in order to generate biomass for heat, fuel and even food is ultimately an alluring idea that we might actually see incorporated into more homes someday.