New York-based Ecovative has been creating environmentally friendly packaging made from mushrooms and agricultural waste since 2009. Now, the company wants to bring their innovative material into homes and offices with a new line of compostable furnishings that are grown using just three ingredients: mycelium (the vegetative part of mushrooms), hemp, and salt.
While creating sturdy material from mushrooms might sound magical, the company’s CEO Eben Bayer says it is a relatively low-tech process and likens it to “making bread.” The company begins by adding a few mycelium cells to moistened hemp or other agricultural waste like buckwheat husks or oat hulls.
The fungus that grows like little hairs is allowed to interlace with the waste until everything is “glued” together. The combination is then mixed again and placed into the desired mold where it continues to grow and harden. The resulting material is then baked in the oven. In addition to making it as strong as wood, the heat also kills the fungi, thus giving the compostable material a similar shelf life to timber.
Also, though the table tops of the stylish “Tafl” and “King’s” tables unveiled at the recently held Biofabricate 2016 summit in New York City resemble marble, they are far from it. The perfectly chiseled blocks are made of BioCement grown by North Carolina-based bioMASON using grains of sands and bacteria.
As you have probably guessed, this waste-free furniture does not come cheap. Customers can expect to pay anywhere from $249 USD for the Stack stool to $699 USD for the King’s table, both of which are only available in limited quantities. Those that cannot afford those prices can opt for cheaper GIY (grow it yourself) kits for a variety of interior products ranging from Christmas tree ornaments to lampshades.
Resources: cnn.com, everythinghomegrown.com, ecovativedesign.com