Mycoform – the very term has a futuristic bearing. But beyond just sounding gimmicky, the material can very well change the way we manufacture furniture in the future. In fact, the term ‘mycology’ pertains to the study of fungi; and as such Mycoform is devised as a biodegradable material created from a composite of mushrooms, oat bran, wood chips, gypsum and other organic constituents. And now New York based non-profits Terreform ONE and Genspace have collaborated to showcase the sheer potential of Mycoform, by designing a collection of benches exclusively crafted from the bioplastic.
The interesting part to this low-carbon scope actually relates to how mycofoam is formed in the first place. Basically the material structure is ‘grown’ from molded byproducts of agriculture that are infused with Ganoderma lucidum, a specific fungal species. In fact, this growth process takes a very natural route by using the effects of a warm and humid environment – that allows the fungus to assimilate the organic constituents. This is done with the help of mycelium, the vegetative part of a fungus that absorbs the cellulose from these byproduct ingredients to create a branch-like hyphae. This hyphae or the filamentous network of the mycelia is what morphs into a weight bearing structure. This transformation is complemented by a tough external skin of bacterial cellulose.
As we can comprehend from the aforementioned process, the entire scope of manufacturing Mycoform is rather low-tech, with less energy being expended in the production phase. Furthermore, given the natural lifespan of these furniture items, they can be easily disposed of in normal environments like gardens, which would translate to complete and pollution-free decomposition of the Mycoform products.
However the best part of the entire ambit arguably pertains how Mycoform bioplastic can also be potentially used in the burgeoning field of architecture, especially in interlocking walls and building insulation. Moreover, the low-tech credentials of the material makes it accessible in different conditions, even in the developing countries. This in turn alludes to an economic alternative to conventional furniture design with low-cost and environmentally friendly considerations.
All images are courtesy of Terreform ONE.