Makers Space Profile #6: Textile Lab at Basque BioDesign Centre

Makers Space Profile #6: Textile Lab at Basque BioDesign Centre

TEXTILES are everywhere: you can see, touch and feel them, you can also make them do things. But there’s a lot that goes into these textiles coming to life: from visualizing to materializing, thinking to rethinking, discovery to rediscovery, each step is crucial and ongoing until the result is achieved. And what’s also crucial is for the textile artist or the researcher to have access to a setting that’s conducive to innovation, where ideas can flow.  

Through our “Makers Space Profile” series, we focus on such settings where artists, technologists, designers, and researchers are creating textiles. This time we are featuring Textile Lab at the Basque BioDesign Centre (BDC). We reached out to the Adele Orcajada to find out all about this fabulous space!   


The BDC was launched as a response to the need to establish a focal point in the Basque Country for sustainable design. Placed in the heart of the natural region of Las Encartaciones, the BDC is about 15 min from the city center, in an area where the local economy had been hurt in the past 30 years. Traditionally, this area had manufactured textiles and furniture and they had both slowly dwindled with the impact of fast fashion and fast consumer goods. Additionally, being inland, it has historically been a region easily overlooked, continually favored by the unique Basque coastline. Therefore, by establishing the BDC in Las Encartaciones the objectives were threefold: to attract visitors to this region full of nature, to become a landmark for sustainable design, and in this way, support the local industry in its transformation, opening opportunities for local and global projects.

With this in mind, the Centre was created with key resources such as a Digital Lab, BioLab, Growing Lab, Print Lab and of course a Textile Lab. Our focus is the development of new technologies and disciplines that can be applied to the circular economy, through the research of regenerative practices. At the BDC, biodesign strategies, inspired by nature and biological organisms, are explored as a driver of innovation, driving the transition to a more holistic and sustainable future.

The Centre leads the way to the knowledge and application of sustainable design through activities such as masterclasses, workshops, mentoring and support for entrepreneurship initiatives. The students, start-ups and entrepreneurs that form part of this community are pioneers in the emerging discipline of biodesign, proposing solutions to contemporary challenges such as climate change, low-consumption manufacturing, natural resource depletion, human and environmental health. Although we are not open to the public, we are open to explore collaborative research and design proposals from designers, studios, and business that would like to explore new materials and their applications.


As mentioned above, the key pillars of the space are the Digital Lab, BioLab, Growing Lab, Print Lab and the Textile Lab.  They are all interconnected through glass walls and partitions creating a open concept space that is ideal for co-creating. Here is an outline of the equipment that we have:

Print Lab

Printing Press Ribes Cameron (100x210cm), Printing Press (55x90cm), Drying Rack (110x80cm), Aquatint Box (120x90cm), Lightbox (77x55cm), Screenprinting Press (4 arms), Exposure Unit (100x79cm), Drying unit (100x79cm), Washout Booth, Brother Digital Printer or paper and Textiles

Textile Lab

Digital Sewing machine, Digital embroidery machine (Brother), TC2 Digital Jacquard Loom, Overlock (Brother), Heat Press, Vapour Iron, Warping Frame, Wearables / electronics, Electronic power bank, Soldering Iron, On(off) buttons, Switches, Sensor kit, Transitors, Arduino uno, Data transmission cable, Attiny85 – 20pu, Attiny programmer, Lipo batteries, Sma wires (flexinol, nitinol).

Bilbe: Digital Loom Residency: TC2 Loom

The BDC’s Bilbe | Digital Looms Residency program is launched as a platform for textile creation and production, generating a nexus between the different artistic, technological and sustainable practices that promote and produce it.This residency aims to promote the exchange and connection between innovation, new technologies with ancestral practices and textile crafts from a circular economy approach and use of local resources. Aimed at artists, professional and emerging designers of all nationalities and career stages working with textile technology. We welcome multidisciplinary techniques and methods within the area of textiles.

Digital lab

Laser cutter, Vinyl cutter, CNC machine, 3D Printer (Prusa), Ceramic 3D printer (Wasp), 3D scanner, 3D pen, Midi controller playtron, playtronica

BioLab and Growing Lab

Food dehydrator, Incubator, Micro scale, Electric kettle, Electric mixer, Electric pressure cooker, Microscope, Bunsen burner, Laboratory miscellaneous: petri dishes, syringes, measuring jugs, graduated cylinder, inoculation loops, volumetric flask, glass jars; Protective equipment: goggles, gowns and masks; Culture boxes for mycelium and kombucha, Electric stoves, Pots of various sizes (bioplastics, dyes…)


ADELE ORCAJADA: Adele has been a materials researcher, librarian and curator since 2014, working as a freelance consultant before becoming a partner at MaterialDriven, where she continues to explore materials innovation with brands and institutions. She has experience as an accessory designer and product developer. Adele is currently the academic director of the Basque BioDesign Center in Bilbao, a space dedicated to biodesign, technology and the development of sustainable materials. She also teaches at fashion and design schools in Spain and regularly contributes as a speaker at different events on the subject.

BETIANA PAVÓN: Betiana Pavón, born in Argentina. She began her approach to the plastic arts at an early age, thus determining her vocation and inclination towards design in general. Throughout her professional training she explored and dabbled in various disciplines such as architecture, interior design, photography, styling and art direction. She currently resides in Spain, where she attended the global Fabricademy program at Fab Lab Barcelona, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, which studies the incorporation of new materials and technologies to the textile industry, where she later became a local collaborator and instructor. Betiana is currently the Fabricademy instructor and Coordination manager at the Basque BioDesign Center

JULIAN TROTMAN: He is an industrial designer with a Master in Digital Fabrication for Interaction at IED. He started his professional career as a cabinetmaker. He is co-founder of Godot Studio, a studio focused on digital fabrication and 3D printing in ceramics. Thanks to his trajectory, he has collaborated and advised different Fab Labs and companies in aspects such as Fab Labs and companies in aspects such as computational design, optimization and adaptation of CNC machinery to their production processes. He currently works as Lab Manager and teacher at the Basque Biodesign Center.

IRATI RETOLAZA: Graduated in Fine Arts at the UPV/EHU, also has a Mastesr in Graphic Work at the International Center of Contemporary Printmaking CIEC as well as several seminars and courses in Contemporary Art and Graphics at the BilbaoArte Foundation. She currently combines her work as an artist and teaching by organizing and teaching workshops of different graphic techniques within the Open Itinera program, in the traveling exhibition “La Isla Viva. Visual Memory“, at the BilbaoArte Foundation within the BAGI program and at the Print Lab of the BDC.

OLGA IRADIER- Project Manager

MARIA PASTOR- Community Manager

EDUARDO LORETO- Material Investigator

OLATZ PEREDA- Material Investigator


Fabricademy is a program at the intersection of digital fabrication, textiles and biology. It explores the interrelation of human-technology-environment through the notions of embodiment, materiality, ecodesign, biodesign, performance, smart textiles, and digital fabrication. At the BDC,  we are a local node with 5 innovative students, here is an insight to their final projects:

Paula Franco Hernani/ Project: BmLab

This project will take a look into the future of new creative disciplines. A path towards new plastic languages where art, design, technology and science merge and the artist embraces new possibilities of creation. Technological advances and new materials imply an evolution in the production of the work, and this poses new challenges to the artist. The main objective of this project is to build a self-sufficient and circular mini-laboratory within the reach of anyone. What is special about this laboratory is that biomass can be obtained thanks to the cultivation of microalgae and cellulose, two great products that are growing in the world of food, cosmetics and plastic prevention.

Ziortza Aurrekoetxea Urrutia/ Project: Mycotherapy

Project inspired by Micotherapy, a discipline that studies the therapeutic properties of fungi for the treatment and prevention of diseases. They have been traditionally used in oriental culture for centuries. There is a diversity of medicinal mushrooms, each with different qualities and for a specific wellness. The idea will be to create a transdermal or wearable fabric that transmits the properties of mushrooms topically. To understand the act of dressing as a moment of self-care and personal wellness.

Lisa Boulton/ Project: Inter:play

Inter:play explores functional objects within the home that invite a light element of adult play. Designed for contexts that change in use and location. The project takes advantage of an already intimate relationship that has been destroyed by forestry: pine needles on forest floors interacting with mycelium webs. Textile and structural materials generated from pine and mycelium will be explored. The resulting material, which will inform final forms and use practices, will largely be discovered after the materials are selected. Inter:Play is about rekindling relationships and reconstructing narratives that reconnect people to their own environment; an evolving ecology within the home. Furniture designed to encourage playful engagement while materially reproducing the relationships found in nature.

Ainoa Fernandez Torres/ Project: Textile: EZINBESTEKOA

The main objective of this textile project, focused on the practice of loom weaving, is to use as many natural and biodegradable resources as possible, either when dyeing a textile or when creating it. The aims for this project are:

That the textiles are alive and it changes over time. Using natural and local resources. The possibility of being able to sit inside the work. Make it biodegradable. That it has a sensory and sentimental function. Find a material that encompasses all waste. Reflect the importance of manual and ancestral work. Unify the past with the future thanks to new technologies. Represent nature and freedom in an enclosed space. To create in the visitor a concern for the earth. To find a new possibility for the waste of Latxa wool. To make people feel that the one who comes to admire art is art. Creation of seasons and harmony of colors.

Laura Sánchez Montás/ Project: Textile art through Biodesign

This project will focus on the application of biomaterials, inks, cultivated materials and bacteria to a piece of haute couture; emphasizing the technique of hand embroidery, replacing the materials both in support and added by compostable materials and in some cases ephemeral, leaving a trace of the passage of time on the canvas.