#14 Mycelium


Recorded on 24 November, 2022 at the Jan van Eyck Academie

This Future Materials Encounter hosted a talk on fungal mycelium uses in art, design, and architecture, led by Maurizio Montalti, founder of the Amsterdam-based innovation studio Officina Corpuscoli.

Encouraging participants to critically reflect upon material economies within artistic and design practices, Maurizio shared his expertise on the development of new fully circular, biologically based, and environmentally friendly materials he has developed and brought successfully to market, and expanded on symbiotic notions of nature, culture, morphology, and material agency.

Mycelium defines the networked structures of fungi providing symbiotic relationships to plant species through root networks both on large and microscopic scales. When isolated under the correct environmental conditions, mycelium begins to grow, forming natural polymers that bond to a waste, or feed material. Once fused and set, it can become a durable, fire resistant, biodegradable material, adaptable to several applications. The material can proliferate by feeding on decayed organic matter, and current residual waste streams can provide this base material for its growth. Therefore, mycelium can actively participate in circular material economies. Greater still, it epitomises regenerative material processes that can positively encourage inter-species collaboration, leading to more balanced material ecosystems.

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