Eindhoven – Designer Eric Klarenbeek’s Mycelium chair, on display at Dutch Design Week, was formed by combining high-tech and biological processes to create a structure out of a living organism.
Klarenbeek worked with scientists at the University of Wageningen to create a living material that could be used in a 3D printer. He blended mycelium – the thread-like network inside funghi – with water and straw. Once printed, the mycelium continued to grow, replacing the water to create a lightweight but sturdy structure. Klarenbeek stopped the growing process by drying out the chair and coating it in a fine layer of bioplastic.
The Mycelium chair is less a practical design and more a proof of concept for Klarenbeek. ‘The chair is a metaphor for what can be achieved with materials and production methods,’ he says.
Designers are increasingly looking to biological process to create new textiles, a phenomenon known as biofacture. For more, watch Caroline Till discuss biofacture research at Central Saint Martins, and read our Future Materials: Top 10 report.