3D-printed mushroom roots "could be used to build houses"
Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: designer Eric Klarenbeek, who displayed a chair made out of 3D-printed fungus at Dutch Design Week in October, says the technique could be used to create larger, more complex structures.
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!"
The music featured in the movie is a track by Kobi Glas. You can listen to his music on Dezeen Music Project.
Dezeen and MINI Frontiers is a year-long collaboration with MINI exploring how design and technology are coming together to shape the future.