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The Argentine designer who works with yerba mate

An Argentine designer discovered a new use for yerba mate and, with it, make the world a more habitable place
24 December, 2019

We do not discover anything new if we say that Argentinians’ relationship with yerba mate is profound and particular. The infusion we take at any time of the day also defines us in terms of personality: mate is made to share, is served little by little, requires patience. In short, it is the ideal companion for chatting and family time or with friends. But watch out, countrymen. Looks like there’s an Argentinean designer who discovered other properties.

This Argentinian I’m referring to is a native of Misiones and is 35 years old. She hasa degree in genetics and a PhD in Biologysince she was a girl she has another passion that did not diminish with her immersion in the world of exact sciences: design. And within that world, sustainable design. Her name: Veronica Bergottini.

It was inevitable that over time the two passions would intersect, and the scope for that to happen is biodesign. In a contest in which he participated, the jury called for a sustainable fashion proposal. Veronica investigated how science has been working in this field and discovered that in more developed countries biotechnology was revolutionizing fashion: genetic manipulation allowed new organic materials to be manufactured. He got to work.

The role of yerba in the process

This is when Karuwas born, the brand that today grows by leaps and bounds. She explains it simple, even though mere mortals don’t understand anything: she experiments with microorganisms that synthesize a biomaterial that results in something similar to paper or leather. These microorganisms grow in yerba mate. That’s why he named the biomaterial TILEX: Tela de Ilex Paraguariensis (scientific name of the plant known as yerba mate).

The collection includes necklaces, wallets and accessories, all made from the biomaterial generated by these microbes implanted in the yerba. In addition to not generating contamination in its production stage, the biomaterial is biodegradable and compostable. That is, it can become a circular process. All our admiration for a fellow countryman who stepped ahead of his time and is helping to make the world a little more livable place for all.

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