Natural Indigo: New Luxury from Northern Fields

Crops4Luxury (PeltoLuksus) project studied special crops that could replace synthetic textile dyes sustainably and ethically
Natural Indigo project, design by Arttu Åfield & Kirsi Niinimäki. Photo Eeva Suorlahti
Crops4Luxury project. Design by Arttu Åfeldt & Kirsi Niinimäki. Photo by Eeva Suorlahti.

One fifth of the water pollution caused by global industry is due to the dyeing of textiles and the synthetic chemicals used in the process. Some regions of the world already have polluted groundwater because of the textile industry’s activities.

From 2018 to 2019, the 'Crops4Luxury' (PeltoLuksus) project studied special crops that could replace synthetic textile dyes sustainably and ethically. Blue is the rarest colour in nature, and in Finland, a crop called dyer’s woad (värimorsinko) yields a non-toxic blue dye. Already centuries ago before chemical colours were developed, dyer's woad was used in Europe for the production of textile dyes. Today this ancient plant dye can be cultivated in large scale and used in industrial textile colouring processes. 

The exhibition showcases how design can enhance the aspect of added value and eco-luxury in the context of a bio-economy. We need alternative approaches to the current fast-fashion system, and through an eco-luxury approach we can gain a new understanding of a more sustainable future with fewer synthetic chemicals and a less damaging environmental impact. 

Crops4Luxury was a collaboration project between Natural Indigo Finland, Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE) and Aalto University. The project was funded by The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra.

Working group: Kirsi Niinimäki, Pirita Lauri, Essi Karell, Julia Valle Noronha, Emil Lyytikkä & Arttu Åfeldt, Department of Design, Aalto University; Natural Indigo Finland; researchers from LUKE.

Contact: [email protected]

Design: Essi Karell Photo: Eeva Suorlahti
Photo by Eeva Suorlahti.

Meet the makers 

Monday 23.9.2019, 16:00-19:00

Väre, Bridge K2

Welcome to visit the exhibition and meet people behind the project and the exhibition! 

Project presentation by Kirsi Niinimäki, Aalto University & Pasi Ainasoja, Natural Indigo Finland

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Designs for a Cooler Planet – Helsinki Design Week 2019

During September 2019, Aalto University's exhibition programme for Helsinki Design Week, titled 'Designs for a Cooler Planet' will introduce solutions for more sustainable lifestyles in Otaniemi

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