Mushrooms are disgusting, but growing a lamp out of fungi is both weird and cool. That’s the idea behind New York-based biomaterials company Ecovative design, which sells mushroom and hemp-growing kits that turn into lamp shades, bowls, planters, and even packaging.
In a dream crossover of sustainability and design, mushrooms have been used to grow everything from dresses to houses and furniture as an ecological alternative to synthetic materials. “The overall goal of this lamp is to challenge our ideas of what interior products should be made from, how they’re made and ultimately where they will end up,” says its Brooklyn-based designer, Danielle Trofe. “We want to disrupt not only the way in which we manufacture goods, but how as a consumer, you can be empowered to be a part of the growing process creating a greater understanding and connection to your objects.”
Mycelium is the root structure of mushrooms. Its interweaving fibers, or threads, can bond materials like wood together, effectively acting as “nature’s glue.” The lamp shades and Ecovative’s other kits contain a mixture of corn stalk and hemp bound together by the mycelium.
A lamp can be grown and molded in about eight days. It is then baked in the oven to preserve its shape, which also stops spores and other nasty things from growing. The result is a kind of furry-white, mushroomy, lightweight lamp that fits into any organic aesthetic. The company says its mushroom materials degrade in about a month when broken into small pieces and left outside.
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