Earlier this year, MoMA’s PS1—a satellite extension of the Museum of Modern Art—was home to the Hy-Fi, a cutting-edge structure made out of mushroom material. The entirely compostable structure was made from brick-like blocks that were grown rather than manufactured and the natural materials helped in providing a pleasant microclimate for PS1 visitors.
The futuristic experience, which was conceived and built by designer David Benjamin, was a part of the Young Architects Program, an annual competition that gives emerging designers and architects the opportunity to create a structure for the MoMA PS1 courtyard.
Similar to some other unique materials that started as architectural applications and trickled their way down to the product design sector, the mushroom material used in the Hy-Fi is now available for use in smaller design applications.
The GIY Kit (Grow it Yourself) from Ecovative Design comes as a bag of dehydrated mushroom materials that can be poured into a mold and moistened to restart the growth process. According to Ecovative, “Mushroom Materials don’t expand or contract, so treat them like you would sand in a sandcastle: whatever shape you pack it into, that’s the final shape that the material will take on.”
Once your tooling has been established, all that is necessary is to fill the cavity with the moistened mixture, sit back, and play some Grateful Dead while waiting for the mushrooms (design) to kick in (around 4-6 days). Once ejected from your mold, the final form can be dehydrated to stop the growth process…thus, leaving you with your final design.
As for what can be done with the material, industrial designer Danielle Trofe has shared her experience in using the material for her Mush-Lume lamp design:
“The ability to have a hands-on experience with the Mushroom Material, to grow it, to learn its properties and to experiment with its living characteristics, has not only created a much more dynamic prototyping experience, but a more inventive and in-tune approach to material-based product design.”
Sadly, Ecovative is currently out of stock, however you can sign up to be notified when they have replenished their stock.