Mycelium-based Materials for Product Design
The Growing Lab is an on-going design-research project exploring methodologies for the implementation of mycelium [the vegetative part of a fungus or fungus-like bacterial colony] as a main agent for the development of novel materials and processes that are capable of minimising energy consumption, carbon emissions, and the production of waste, while reducing production costs. The project, Mycelium-based Materials for Product Design, is the result of a collaboration between the design studio Officina Corpuscoli and knowledge institutes such as the Utrecht Universities and Design Academy Eindhoven, and includes the involvement of industrial partners as part of its users’ committee.
These project studies analyse the mechanisms underlying the structural and decorative properties of mycelium as well as its improvement, while exploring and assessing natural variations, environmental growth conditions, and genetic qualities of the selected mycelia. This, in order to identify tailor-made mycelia for use as alternatives to traditional oil-based plastics. Across the duration of the project, the parties concerned cooperated to jointly develop a palette of mycelium-based materials with diverse properties, which will then be characterised not only technically but also experientially, before being embedded in specific applications and products. Maurizio Montalti, creative director at Officina Corpuscoli, has been implementing the project in his role as Research Associate at Design Academy Eindhoven.