They Grow Without Us

Faculty

Joe Dahmen

The honeycomb-shaped public furniture is grown from mushrooms. A blend of mushroom spores and sawdust are grown in moulds to produce unique sustainable materials called mycelium biocomposites. While in the mould, the roots of the fungus, called mycelia, propagate in the spaces in the cellulosic material, producing solid objects. The honeycomb design of the seating reflects a fabrication process in which individually moulded hexagonal blocks are grown together to produce larger forms.

The mushroom furniture suggests a future in which biodegradable architectural components are grown rather than manufactured, adding valuable material to local ecosystems at the end of their life. In contrast to the relentless cycle of consumption characteristic of contemporary construction, mycelium biocomposites offer the prospect that conventional carbon-intensive construction methods could be replaced one day with silently growing buildings. The project builds upon innovative interdisciplinary research at the intersection of materials, building technology, mycology, and sustainable architecture.

The mycelium furniture has received extensive national and international media coverage, including most recently on Dazeen. The architecture and design magazine chose AFJD, the studio Joe runs with his partner, as one of five young Canada-based designers and studios to watch.

Photography courtesy of Krista Jahnke.