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SCOBY-compo material

Material research and development from the side product of London kombucha drink industry.

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Back in 2019, I was fortunate to embark on an 8-month material research residency at Green Lab in London where I explored and developed a leather-like material from local kombucha production waste.

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Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that grows layers of bacterial cellulose on its surface to create a barrier with oxygen. This symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast is shortly called SCOBY.


Since 2019 I have been working with SCOBY developing it into a fully biodegradable leather-like material.

Instead of growing it myself, I have been working with a number of kombucha drink producers around London, collecting their discarded bacterial cellulose and reprocessing it into a new material SCOBY-compo, with enhanced material properties.


Material research has been inspired by the needs of our vegan clients and especially the fact that there are no sustainable gloving leather alternatives.

Unfortunately, most of the well-known "vegan leathers" are PU- and PVC-based and not environmentally friendly.

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It was symbolic to bring the material research back to kombucha by designing the SCOBY coasters for a fully circular product cycle.

Colored with charcoal powder and waterproofed with natural shellac lacquer the coasters are fully biodegradable and now available at Riina O online boutique!

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Riina O created the first completely vegan Aura glove, made of kombucha SCOBY-compo material. 100% vegan, sustainable and environment-friendly! Laser etched and hand stitched.

Currently at the stage of concept piece artifact but work in progress making it ready to wear.

The glove has received interest from NASA scintists in 2021.

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