The furniture of the future might not be built, but grown. New York-based nonprofits Terreform ONE and Genspace developed a series of benches created from Mycoform, a durable and 100% compostable material made from mushrooms, wood chips, gypsum, oat bran, and other biological materials. The designers say the Mycoform production process is pollution-free, low-tech, and low-energy.
The Mycoform structure is grown from molded agricultural byproducts inoculated with the fungal species Ganoderma lucidum. Once placed in a warm and humid environment, the fungi fuses the organic substrates together using mycelium, the vegetative part of the fungus that consumes the byproducts’ cellulose components to create a branch-like network. The branching mycelia grow rapidly into a weight-bearing structure. Bacteria cellulose is used for the external skin.
The designers create the furniture molds with the aid of computational systems that predict the mycelium’s behavior and shape. “The technology is easily transferable to the developing world where building materials are scarce and expensive,” writes Terreform ONE, which explains that Mycoform can also be applied in interlocking walls and building insulation systems. “The ultimate intention of this biomaterial research is to potentially replace petroleum-based plastics with a metabolic and ecological substance.”
Images via Terreform ONE