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The honeycomb shaped public furniture is grown from mushrooms. A blend of mushroom spores and sawdust are grown in moulds to produce unique sustainable materials called mycelium biocomposites. While in the mould, the roots of the fungus, called mycelia, propagate in the spaces in the cellulosic material, producing solid objects. The honeycomb design of the seating reflects a fabrication process in which individually moulded hexagonal blocks are grown together to produce larger forms.
The mushroom furniture suggests a future in which biodegradable architectural components are grown rather than manufactured, adding valuable material to local ecosystems at the end of their life. In contrast to the relentless cycle of consumption characteristic of contemporary construction. Mycelium biocomposites offer the prospect that conventional carbon-intensive construction methods could be replaced one day with silently growing buildings. The project builds upon innovative interdisciplinary research at the intersection of materials, building technology, mycology and sustainable architecture.
The project is led by Joe Dahmen, Assistant Professor at UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, who worked with his partner, Amber Frid-Jimenez, Canada Research Chair in Design and Technology at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Together they run AFJD, a transdisciplinary design firm based in Vancouver that designed the furniture.
The furniture installation was commissioned by UBC Campus and Community Planning as part of the UBC Centennial Initiative in the area of sustainability. Funding for the project has been provided by UBC SEEDS (Social Ecological Economic Development Studies), UBC Campus and Community Planning, the UBC Alma Mater Society, and the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies.
University of British Columbia SEEDS (Social Ecological Economic Studies)
UBC Campus and Community Planning
Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies
UBC Alma Mater Society
UBC School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture
Emily Carr University Studio for Extensive Aesthetics