As a new initiative celebrating the International Year of Biodiversity 2010, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation initiated a cross-cultural inter-disciplinary project forming a trans-national network, involving science research, arts and crafts. Rob Kesseler was invited to work with the teams of cellular and molecular scientists in the Instituto Ciencia Gulbenkian in Portugal.

Using a variety of microscopy techniques the cellular structures of Portuguese wild flora including a number of rare orchids, reveal complex patterns and structures. Micro-fine sections of the flower stems were stained to expose functional characteristics. Working at a higher magnification than is normally used for whole sections detailed large format images are constructed from up to 500 individual frames. The dazzling variety of structural pattern and colour will form the basis of a collection of designs to be applied to a new range of porcelain in collaboration with Vista Alegre.