Content type: 3D Design Project
Credits: Studio Eric Klarenbeek
Year: 2003–ongoing

‘We are the first in the world to 3D-print living mycelium.’
Studio Eric Klarenbeek

Introduction:
Dutch design duo Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dros at Studio Eric Klarenbeek have been exploring the potential of mycelium (the threadlike network of fungi) since 2003 when they were still students. After 16 years of experimentation, they are now focusing on developing methods of 3D-printing living organisms such as mycelium, in combination with local raw materials to create products with negative carbon footprints.

The designers believe that this technology can be applied to a broad spectrum of functions. To demonstrate this, using their technology for the first time, the studio produced the ‘Mycelium Chair’. It is simultaneously an ode and a challenge to the chair as the archetypal design object, with the form inspired by natural growth. It also reflects on the exciting possibilities of cutting edge technology as used in 3D printing.

The plant-based material used to make the chair means that it has many sustainable qualities and creates new potential throughout its life and after-life. As with living organisms, the chair releases oxygen into the atmosphere throughout its life cycle. The production process reduces energy use by eliminating the necessity of heating materials during the printing process, and, using local resources and manufacturing results in objects with negative carbon footprints. Once it has reached the end of its usefulness, the chair is fully compostable so, far from harming the environment, it becomes fertilizer for new plants to grow.

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