Klarenbeek's Mycelium chair, which takes its name from the extensive threadlike root structure of fungi, combines organic matter with bioplastics to make a light and strong composite material that can be 3D-printed.
"We adapted the 3D-printer and invented a way to print straw injected with mycelium. By infusing this mushroom it acts as a kind of glue so that all these straw parts [combine] together and as soon as you dry it you get a kind of cork material, which is all bound together," says Klarenbeek.
The chair's exterior is also 3D-printed, but is made from a bioplastic, against which the mycelium root structure grows. Klarenbeek leaves the fungus to spread throughout the 3D-printed structure, reinforcing it in the process.
"Our main purpose was to find a combination between the robot, or the machine, and to have these two work together to create a new material which could be applicable for any product," explains Klarenbeek.
He claims the material has many possible applications. "It could be a table, or a whole interior, and that's where it becomes interesting for me. It's really strong, solid, lightweight and insulating, so we could build a house!"
New technologies mean the design process is becoming akin to "creating a Hollywood film," says designer Francis Bitonti, who created a seamless 3D-printed dress for burlesque dancer Dita von Teese. Larger version + story »