WHY GROW A SURFACE? These prototypes for a mycoform surface system occupy the intersection of parametric CAD design and synthetic biology. Their multi-curved shapes are designed and cut digitally, but the segments are grown from strains of fungi into the specific 3D geometries of the piece.
Mycoform is a product grown from ordinary biological matter and added to precise compacted forms of inert waste. We use polypore fungal species (in this case the fungus Ganoderma lucidum) that possess enzymes to readily digest a wide variety of cellulose based agricultural byproducts. The internal filler is made up of mycelia substrate, a combination of discarded wood chips, gypsum, oat bran, which is consumed by mycelia and then hardened into a tough, durable functional material.
The external skin is bacteria cellulose. The mycelia substrate and bacterial cellulose integrate to become a hard biopolymer that is suitable for architectural applications. This low-tech, low energy process is pollution free, and contains a low embodied energy as part of a local ecosystem. The technology is easily transferable to the developing world. At the end of the useful product life cycle, Mycoform can be composted and safely reintroduced back into the environment, where it can be naturally biodegraded.