They say good furniture should last you a lifetime, but in our environmentally friendly day and age, furniture has a lifetime — or rather life cycle — of its own. At this year’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair, architecture and design group Terreform ONE unveiled its design for the “Mushroom Chaise,” described as a futuristic lounge chair made completely from biodegradable mushrooms. This statement piece offers an alternative to the current practice of mass producing our furniture, and promises to shed new light on manufacturing techniques and technologies that do not deplete natural resources, but rather contribute to the environment.
The latest project from Terreform fits into the non-profit’s broader mission of illuminating a more sustainable and ecologically connected future for cities by way of innovative designs. Its clever juxtaposition of biology and engineering have landed Terreform ONE designs in New York’s MOMA, Venice’s Architecture Biennale, and Palo Alto’s Institute of the Future. And one day, perhaps, in your home.
The waste- and pollution-free mushroom chair is a novel concept, and was grown over the course of seven days from various strains of fungi. When it’s no longer suitable for human use, you won’t exactly donate this piece; rather, you’ll just let Mother Nature reclaim it. As Terreform explains, this chair can be “composted and safely reintroduced back into the environment, where it can be naturally biodegraded.” So yes … the plastic of our generation is a mushroom.
“In the work of Terreform ONE, we see a world in which architecture and furniture is grown from mushrooms and living cells, and our homes are formed by guided growth of living trees,” reads a statement from Art Works for Change in Footing the Bill: Art and Our Ecological Footprint. “Part science and part science fiction, these are the ideas of makers, scientists and dreamers. They are the seeds that will grow into the human habitats of the future and yield a sustainable abundance for humankind.”