Valk is a novel protein-based material, with a unique set of physical, visual and sensory properties, suitable for circular design concepts. We offer an alternative to oil-derived and environmentally harmful materials currently excessively used in the fashion industry.
Valk is made from peace silk and waste wool proteins, and we work towards implementing biosynthesized proteins completely. The material can be produced by using pre- and post-consumer recycled materials and green-chemistry production methods following the principles of circular economy; it is recyclable and 100% biodegradable. The thickness, translucency, color and structure of the material can be modified easily, making it particularly suitable for replacing plastics used in fashion embellishments and a variety of performance demanding materials in fashion tech.
One of the possibilities of how to protect fragile silk foam is to develop a structure engulfing it. The lyophilisation of silk inside protective glass bulbs which were discarded due to minor defects from the biochemistry laboratory was chosen as a sustainable product development solution. The idea of lighting benefits the unique optical qualities of the silk structure. Freeze-drying silk solution inside the glass enabled to control of the process and lead it towards the desired solution leaving the foam protected inside the bulb.
In terms of sustainable product design, utilising different leftover laboratory equipment, added value to the sustainable production process as well as create favorable conditions for and unexpected outcomes. The concept development resulted in five authentic lamps with unique patterns and characters.
Besides the aesthetic value of lamps, they enable to visualise and present the process of silk lyophilization in a compact way serving as a didactic tool aiding learning and comprehension of the process. This method can be used to illustrate the nature of proteins and their reaction to freeze-drying.
Author of the photos: Marko Veinbergs
Conducted in the laboratories of Tallinn University in collaboration with Sirje Sasi, Kärt Viljalo, Marko Veinbergs, Johannes Halberg, Svetlana Levtšenko, Egle Lillemäe.