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Mills Fabrica Innovation Award 2021

Figures in space wearing orange material garments
Figures in space wearing orange material garments
Yongfan Lu, MA Biodesign
Written by
Teleri Lloyd-Jones
Published date
19 July 2021

Yongfan Lu wins the Mills Fabrica Innovation Award with a biomaterial that can bioremediate the soil after its use.

Having supported a prize since 2018, The Mills Fabrica chose to focus their attention this year on the first graduating class of our MA Biodesign course. Celebrating work that combines academic excellence with a focus on material innovation and sustainability, The Mills Fabrica have awarded Lu £1,000 and a three-month residency in their lab in either London or Hong Kong. The residency offers space and support to bring her innovation to life.

Her final garments are made from casein bioplastic and living mycelium. The casein bioplastic can decompose into amino acids becoming nutrients for the microbes and plants. Living mycelium has the unique myco-remediation function to clean the petroleum-contaminated soil. At the end of their lifespan, her garments could bioremediate soil, improving the soil quality within a landfill.

I am thrilled to receive the Mills Fabrica Innovation Award and look forward to working with the Mills Fabrica team to continue exploring my project in Hong Kong. This will be an unforgettable opportunity and a great learning experience that will help build my future start-up bio-fashion brand.

— Yongfan Lu, MA Biodesign
  • Yongfan-Lu_4.jpg
    Yongfan Lu, MA Biodesign
  • Yongfan-Lu_2.jpg
    Yongfan Lu, MA Biodesign
  • Yongfan-Lu_1.jpg
    Yongfan Lu, MA Biodesign

"I am so pleased that The Mills Fabrica has selected a student from the MA Biodesign’s first graduating cohort for this residency award," says Course Leader Nancy Diniz, "Yongfan Lu’s work embodies the programme’s interdisciplinary nature in between biology, biotechnology and design. She has successfully produced a new biomaterial integrating extensive and rigorous scientific experimentation with creative making. Her innovative fabric has a dual integration of a compostable casein-based bioplastic and mycelium that provide nutrition to microbes and plants but also can bioremediate toxins in the soil in its after-use lifecycle."

Explore more of Yongfan's work on the Graduate Showcase.