Biofacture: Mycelium + timber

Images from Sebastian Cox

The process of using biological organisms to manufacture new materials is known as biofacture. Although it has been used to “grow” micro-organisms such as bacteria, algae, cellulose and protein fibres as an alternative to traditional materials like cotton and plastics, its extraordinary potential is starting to be applied to (commercial) furniture design.

The remarkable material relationship between wood and fungus is a naturally occurring one which spans the ages. Through extensive research and experimentation, Sebastian Cox and Ninela Ivanova have identified the mycelium species Fomes fomentarius, as one which works most effectively with coppiced hazel and goat willow; two species of British wood currently without an economically valuable use and often considered as waste. Together they have taken this perfect material pairing and intelligently applied the symbiotic relationship to contemporary furniture.

The collection MYCELIUM+TIMBER is the result, a series of stools and lights made using freshly cut wood waste which has been myceliated with the fungus species. Each piece is created by the mycelium as it grows and binds the green wood waste together around purpose made frames to form lightweight, incredibly strong and completely compostable pieces of design.

Read Also

- Fungal Futures

- Weaving bridges, an ancient tradition

- Traditional dwellings inspired by nature