Growing, living things are all around us.
Industrial design students Merjan Tara Sisman and Brian McClellan have taken note of this, and fused the scientific laboratory with furniture design creating an experiment with an interesting outcome.
Their brainchild, The Living Room Project, shows how living organisms can be manipulated and engineered into specific shapes.
While they were looking into different organisms for their thesis project, they stumbled upon the unique rooting structure of mushrooms. Forming mycelium, or mushroom roots, into various shapes may sound complicated and a little peculiar, but the completely natural process is actually fairly simple.
Looking into the way mushrooms grow, they discovered they could regulate the way the roots form when developing. The mushroom roots were mixed wood chips, placed in pre-made molds, covered in plastic and allowed to grow. The plastic barrier helped to create the necessary moisture for successful roots. Once it reached the desired size the pieces were taken out of the plastic, removed from the molds, dried and then heated to destroy the roots and stop growth.
They were actually able to generate different shaped pieces and their experiment resulted in sturdy, completely biodegradable forms that can even be painted. The designers point out the natural growing process of the mycelium, which can form and develop around objects.
Initial furniture and fixtures included a chair and pendant lights. Mycena, the pendant light, employs an organic and zero energy 3D printing process. It took 3 weeks to grow the chair and 1 week to produce the lights.
Definitely unique, the furniture also represents the combination of the wild as well as the patterned activities preset in nature.
The designers note the possibilities for developing the concept into an advanced, eco-friendly technique for manufacturing furniture and other pieces. Sounds like a furniture garden may be in the future for this inventive duo.
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