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Riina O at Disainiöö

The third week of September is celebrated in Estonia as Disainiöö - Tallinn Design Festival. Translated as Design Night - the week-long event was happening already 14th year in the row, from 16th to 22nd of September 2019. The main venue being the grand Noblessner Shipyard, but having satellites all over the city.

The Festival called "Future Materials" concentrated on the sustainable topic and aimed to introduce the material innovations used in various products to the wider public. The choice of the topic was also helped by the fact that all plastic utensils, bags, and several other plastic items will soon be banned. There is an urgent need to respond by finding alternative natural materials, and this is an area where designers are increasingly collaborating with researchers.

Riina O was invited to partake in Disainiöö Tallinn Design Festival. This time not even so much as a glove brand, but as a material researcher. The eponymous main exhibition "Future Materials" displayed a wide array of everyday items created using new bio-materials. Riina O displayed the SCOBY glove and SCOBY coasters made of kombucha SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) composite material. Whilst the SCOBY glove is currently a concept piece, not yet suitable for wearing, the SCOBY coasters were launched for sale in small quantities during the Design Week and later at the Estonian Design House boutique. The coasters are also available for pre-orders online at Riina O online shop.

At Kombucha workshop Riina shared her skills of making the fermented tea drink and showed what can the bacterial cellulose be used for afterwards.

The Design Night Festival program included educational presentations within the framework of the conference. Featuring speakers from Estonia, the UK, the Netherlands and Finland. Riina presented her kombucha SCOBY material research conducted during the residency at the Green Lab in London.

The whole experience was rather reassuring regarding the sustainability and instilling the hope the innovative material developments and the products made of these materials will reach a larger scale sometime in the near future.

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