mycelium based printing
Using traditional printing techniques, such as stencil and screen printing, wood can be precisely inoculated with mycelium. By coating the wood with a mycelium-based printing paste, a cushion-like structure grows partially out of the wood. With the penetration of the mycelium into the surface and the guided growth process, a form-fitting composite material is created that naturally combines the properties of the soft mycelium with the wood. A new future-oriented material with high application and design potential – presented in the form of a chair that can literally be put back into the forest after use.
full concept text
My idea was to screen print living organisms, especially mycelium. A spontaneous sketch, visualizing a cushion of mycelium growing out of the surface of a chair was a fun practical application – but realizable?
Finally, I designed a new type of composite material that required the development of a printing paste and technique to produce it. Which can now actually be presented in a mycelium upholstered chair. Using traditional printing techniques, such as stencil and screen printing, wood can be precisely inoculated with mycelium.
Searching for the right mycelium and a series of trials and experiments for the right composition of the printing paste has resulted the following mixture:
Ganoderma lucidum, plant based guar gum as natural binder and and a little malt extract as a starter of the mycelium.
In another series of experiments with different types of wood, possible methods of treatment of the surface, I explored the best combination with the printing paste. As a result, saw rough ash, soaked in water for 1-2 days has shown to be very willing to grow. In order to control the organic growth of the mycelium and to be able to apply the necessary layer thickness, I came to a stencil printing. In contrast to the classical method, the stencil is not removed after printing and remains as a barrier in the growth process of the mycelium.
In a sterile and humid environment, a cushion-like structure partially grows out of the wood within two to three weeks.
With the penetration of the mycelium into the surface and the guided growth process, a form-fitting composite material is created that naturally combines the properties of the soft mycelium with the wood. The patterning of the stencil, the specification for the growing upholstery, shows a large number of possible variations. A new kind of future-oriented material with high potential for application and design:
Which is presented in the form of a simple dynamic chair as a possible application: the combination of the wood with a direct mycelium-based upholstery can replace conventional (mostly plastic-based) poster materials. The chair is recyclable in one piece.