Using fungus for furniture is not necessarily a new concept. Fungi have been used in furniture art before. For example Eric Klarenbeek, a designer, has created a rather artistic fungus chair. He used a 3D printer to create a chair made out of fungus, and not dead fungus either. The live fungus strengthens as it grows, allowing the chair to retain its form. However, is furniture all it is capable of? What does this mean for artists who prefer natural materials in their work?
Yet this artistic venture wasn’t truly an artistic venture at all. Instead Eric worked together with scientists in hope to create a new way of making products, not furniture alone. This process is used today to create some unique items, from bricks to art. You can read more about the fungus chair here. The very important question is, can you sit on fungi? Yes, yes you can. Not only is fungus tasty, but it’s useful too.
Durable, Light, Cheap and Environmentally Friendly
Fungus make for a durable, natural material, but only when it went through a specific process. This particular process can create fungus strong enough to stop a bullet, but don’t try that at home. Even though the material is tough, it is also light. But how will fungus as a material help the earth?
Fungus will help by being awesome. Combined with all the good qualities already mentioned above, the fungus material is cheap and quick to make. The reason for this is that it is cultivated on-site using trash, such as corn husks. This is great news for anyone who has a compost heap and has no idea what to do with it all. Why not build yourself a… dress?
New Natural Material
It is definitely good news for us creatives. We have a new natural material we can use to make amazing artworks for our own home and other’s. The fun part is that you are able to grow your material, allowing to to be completely involved in your artwork from start to finish. The fun doesn’t stop there, as you can play around and learn by changing the mold, tools, drying techniques and trash you feed it. In the meantime, you are also helping the environment.
If you want some inspiration, look at Aniela Hoitink’s dress. She made this dress using the same property of fungus that created the chair before, namely the mycelium. Without these thin wires, the material will not strengthen enough. It took plenty of studies, testing and learning before Aniela managed to create her artwork. Indeed, it is about dreaming and seeing the invisible, as Ecovative so nicely put it.
Do-It-Yourself Creatives’ Fungi-Opportunity
But how do you actually start something like this? Currently, you are able to explore opportunities at Ecovative. Here you can gather the materials to start your first project, until you get a hang of it yourself. They also offer a platform (which will be released soon) where you can create and share within a community. You will also be able to see tutorials and kits to get yourself started. You can get yourself an invite here. What would you make? Let us know in a comment below!