Can one grow furniture? A pair of Philadelphia University students says you can. In fact, they’ve done it. The students, Merjan Tara Sisman and Brian McClellan, launched an investigation of manufacturing objects from living materials in “The Living Room Project.”
Their study of the potential of particular organisms led them to mycelium, the rooting system for mushrooms, which they found to be suitable for making into furniture. In the course of their research, they discovered that they could control the growth of the organisms in a variety of different ways within fabricated molds–a process which they call a zero energy form of 3D printing.
The first results of their ongoing project are a chair (designed by Sisman) and pendant lights (designed by McClellan), which display the uncontrolled behavior and patterns of nature in the practice of furniture design.
They plan to continue their work with updated molds, and will consider using other living materials in their process.