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bioluminescent bacteria & bio-computation

The whole existence of life on earth evolved from bacteria, and we house them by the trillions on or inside our bodies. These bacteria are incredibly important to our survival, and often, they have the power to decide our fate. Their group behaviour suggests an intelligence far beyond what most of us can imagine, and it is this intelligence we want to explore, learn from, and develop a project based on our findings.

We studied material computing to learn how nature dictates our environment's constraints. We concentrated on the bioluminescent bacteria (Vibrio Fischeri), which has the incredible ability to glow. Our interest lies in how the bacteria communicate to produce this light. Bacteria use quorum sensing to coordinate light production when cell density is low; one cell senses the number of bacteria and signals them all to glow. Bacteria communicate with each other using a chemical language specific to their species.

We believe that the future is moving towards a more advanced technological intelligence in which our devices and sustainable urban infrastructure will become more adapted to the human body of the user. No longer will there be static objects; biology and technology are merging, allowing designers to engage in a more symbiotic relationship with nature by understanding its patterns and processes.​

Living Light was developed during an introductory studio at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) at the Master in Advanced Architecture program in 2015.


Project by: Thora H Arnardottir, Jessica Dias, Noor El-Gewely, Maryann Ewais, Ingried Ramirez & Karthik Dhanabalan

Tutors: Claudia Pasquero & Carmelo Zappulla.
Assistant: Maria Kupstova
Biology Support: Núria Conde Pueyo


(2017Living Light. Exhibited as part of a permanent collection in EXPO2017. Astana, Kazakhstan.

(2017) Arnardottir, T.H. El-Gewely, N. Dias, J. Ewais, M. Ramirez, I. Living Light. At the 3rd International Conference of Biodigital Architecture and Genetics. Biodigital Architecture Master, Barcelona.

(2017) 'Living Light: Biolum.' Talk presented at the Circular Thinking conference, Koelnmesse, Cologne, Germany.

(2016) Living Light. Exhibited at Bio And Beyond in the Edinburgh International Science Festival, UK

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Bio and Beyond
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