The Mushroom Chair, or how to grow your own furniture

Fungi-based biomaterials are now becoming serious competitors to plastic and polystyrene when manufacturing packaging, insulation boards, and even car parts
Published in the dossier of July 2016

Bio-pedagogy

Inspired by the alternative uses of biomaterials, Terreform One is no rookie in this field.   
Its researchers and designers have even designed a literally edible seat with the aim of educating children about environmental issues.   

“We wanted to show them that if something is good for them, it is also good for the planet,” explains Mitchell Joachim.  

Some applications are already taking things a step further: with its Mushroom Chair, the New York non-profit organization, Terreform One, has introduced a chair that can be “grown” in just seven days! Developed using the Mycoform© process, which is owned by the company Ecovative, producing this amazing self-built piece of furniture requires very few resources and little energy.   

Specifically, it is the white of the mushroom, the mycelium, which is used as the raw material. To build a Mushroom Chair, the mycelium is simply grown in a substrate made up of organic waste and nutrients that “fuse” around a bamboo support structure.   

Shortly afterward, an incredibly organic-looking ottoman takes shape. Durable and functional, the Mushroom Chair is completely biodegradable, so much so that at the end of its life, it can be composted and safely reintroduced into the environment.   

“Our concept is already interesting some furniture vendors,” says Mitchell Joachim, an architect and co-founder of Terreform One. “Distribution on the basis of an open source model in a DIY version is also under consideration.”    

Still, this radically innovative approach to furniture hints at the future influence of bio-design on our mass consumer behavior: instead of depleting natural resources for our own comfort, it would be so much more sustainable if we were to grow the furniture we need.