Want to inspire envy at your local makerspace, while also showing off your eco-friendly credentials? No problem: New York-based company Ecovative Design is here to help.
Founded by friends Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre, the company has created mushroom-based materials for use in everything from packaging to furniture. Having previously “grown” everything from packaging to furniture, Ecovative recently launched a new “Grow It Yourself” initiative — designed to use the same mycelium (that’s the vegetative part of a fungus) technology to give customers at home the chance to create their own projects and products.
“The creativity has been amazing,” co-founder and chief scientist Gavin McIntyre told Digital Trends. “College design students [have] created everything from a piggybank to jewelry to a guitar. Makers have created chairs, clocks and even a wedding dress — and a designer, Daniele Trofe, one of the earliest adopters of our Mushroom Material — [has even] created a full scale business.”
If you want an introduction to Ecovative’s GIY project you can order items including planters, table lamps and more. All of these come as kits, which you can then easily assemble from the comfort of your own home; requiring no more equipment than an oven (or, if you’re without that, a basic house fan), the kit, and a bit of patience.
If you’re a step beyond that, you can also order a bag of the mushroom stuff to start creating your own innovative creations from scratch.
While it might sound like a gimmick, with Ecovative having recently signed a $9.1 million contract with DARPA to develop the next generation of biomaterials, clearly this is an area with a whole lot of interest!
“In the twentieth century, we saw the dawn of plastics, derived from fossil fuel resources,” McIntyre continued. “Those materials are found everywhere: in durable goods such as insulation, and in nondurable goods such as protective packaging. We sought to create a material that fit within nature’s recycling system. That is why we looked to mushrooms. In nature, fungi and mushrooms are nature’s recyclers. With Ecovative’s patented Mushroom Material, we can take any regional waste stream and upcycle it into a higher value product. At the end of that product’s life cycle, it will passively return to the earth.”
And, hey, even without doing a good thing for the Earth, isn’t it kind of cool to own a lamp or other furniture made out of upcycled fungi?
They’re perfect for the apartment without mushroom. Get it? Much room? We’ll show ourselves out…