Trehalose Artefacts

Developing sugar-based products to enhance human survival during drought


MA Material Futures
Central Saint Martins


Speculative Design
Scientific Research
System Design
Packaging Design





Solutions for a future of extreme climate change

Borne of observations on climate change and human behaviour, Trehalose Artefacts explores a water-scarce future where we adapt ourselves to our environment instead of vice versa.

Blue Gold – World Water Wars examines the implications of a dwindling water supply


Tardigrades can survive extreme temperatures 
Image: Britannica


Underground architecture could provide respite from the heat
Image: Sketchbook


Regenerative science explores enhancement of the human body 
Image: Wikipedia


Water usage increases despite drought conditions in California 
Image: The New York Times


Global climate change projections
Image: Sketchbook

A natural sugar that protects cells from dehydration

Trehalose is a naturally-occurring sugar found in a wide variety of organisms including bacteria, fungi, plants and invertebrates. Stable and soluble in water, it could be used to enhance human survival by reducing water loss through skin surfaces.

Trehalose-based skincare tailored to different needs

I started with a range of skincare products based on scientific research I conducted in partnership with the UCL Centre for Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine. Different concentrations of trehalose are available to match a variety of user needs and environments.
TretSk1n Extreme moisturiser for those with outdoor occupations

Micro-encapsulated clothing for continuous coverage

The second solution makes use of microencapsulation, where the sugar is embedded in textiles and released to the skin over time.

Like the skincare range, varying concentrations and rates of release could be created to fit various requirements.

Lightweight and close-fitting TretSk1n clothing for maximum comfort
Patterned details take cues from athleisure and enhance breathability

Electronic tattoos enable monitoring of hydration levels

E-tattoos supplement the previous solutions allowing users to track physiological data, linked to an app which informs users when they may need to re-apply, re-purchase or take other actions.
E-tattoos are applied on the wrist for easy adherence and removal
E-tattoos are available in multipacks with tweezers for application

Salone del Mobile, London Design Festival and publications

The project was exhibited in Milan as part of the Material Futures annual showcase, then at The Intelligent Optimist during London Design Festival 2015. It was nominated for the MullenLowe Nova Awards and featured on publications such as LS:N Global, Inhabitat, Protein and Disegno.

These solutions were developed whilst carrying out research on human skin cells at the UCL Centre for Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine.


UCL Centre for Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine
under the supervision of Dr. Achala de Mel

Model | Jewel Tai
Makeup | Adama Jatta
Photography | Ben Pendlebury

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