Printing – Cultivating – Applicating
2014 – concept development in collaboration with Studio Simone Vermaning
We are fascinated by the fungus called Schizophyllum. Which is known to grow rapidly and everywhere around the world, in order to survive in different conditions, this leads to magnificent properties as; water absorbent, impact absorbent, flame retardant, variable density.
Mycelium v.c. Woven Textiles
Mycelium consists of a network of intertwined hyphea. Electron microscopy shows the great similarities of the fungal mycelium with normal woven matter. Fungi therefore produce fungal fabrics.
Textile Industry and Eco Fashion
The textile industry has faced many challenges in the past several years. Chemical processing of fibers and textiles is known to have an impact on the environment. Even in the growing availability of organic textiles the pigments used are the heavy polluters. Therefor there will be also regard for the discovery and amplification of esthetic qualities that can be distracted from the Mycelium. This could include aspects of multi-layered cultivation or the adjustment of color nuances and the coloring of the mycelium during or after the growth. The rising awareness, has led the industry to look for more eco-friendly and sustainable ways of producing textiles.
We will take the next step by using mycelium as a smart material in design with added value. The project is relevant for the societal issues sustainability and quality of life. Fungal based textiles can replace animal leather and petrochemical textile and synthetic coloring. Fungal fabrics will also contribute to re-connect consumers with nature, showing its beauty and potential.
Printing and Cultivating
A large part of our effort is in finding functional ways to transfer and cultivate the qualities of mycelium onto a carrier textile. For this we aim to develop a printing and cultivating machine.
The goal of this project is to chart the manners how types of Mycelium, sometimes with other materials, can lead to a new kind of material that resembles cotton, silk or satin or perhaps a completely new fabric. This will evoke appreciation for fungi, which would help to exploit the full potential of fungi to improve quality of human life by contributing to sustainability and health.
At the same time, this project is of a high scientific interest. The portfolio of fungal textiles resulting from the project will demonstrate the properties of the mycelium resulting from different strains and growth conditions. The proof of principle opens a new field of applied research that allows us to modify properties of the mycelium at will and that will give insight why and how fungi have evolved mycelia with the properties they have. The applied research is a catalyst for fundamental research in to the true potential of mycelium in our future society.