Designer Maurizio Montalti develops mycelium-based material and products as a solution to plastic problem

Amsterdam-based designer Maurizio Montalti – who has created pieces of furniture from a fungus-based material – is proving that mycelium can be used to replace plastic and other materials that are tough to recycle.

By combining mycelium, the “root structure of fungus”, with agricultural waste such as wheat, rapeseed and flax, Maurizio Montalti has created a new material, which he has used in the design of chairs, lampshades, waterproof vases, and slippers.

The designer – whose studio Officina Corpuscoli houses a lab where scientists work alongside designers to grow new materials from living microbes – believes that products made from mycelium-based materials are a solution to the plastic problem.

Maurizio Montalti cites his main source of inspiration as “the fascination for the micro-scale, together with a holistic vision of the world as a macro-organism animated by symbiotic relationships”.

The Italian designer and his team at the Officina Corpuscoli lab have been researching mycelium-based materials for nearly a decade.

In 2015 the studio embarked upon an industrial venture, aiming to standardise and scale-up mycelium technology and the subsequent range of naturally grown products. Alongside industrial partners, Maurizio Montalti founded technology platform and company, MOGU.

MOGU is the first company to offer commercial mycelium-based products on the market, suitable for interior design applications and as an alternative to traditional synthetic materials, such as petroleum-based plastics.

MOGU say: “Today, our relationship with the ecosystem is more than ever compromised, due to human activity and particularly to the irresponsible manufacturing processes we constantly run.

“At MOGU, we thrive to employ only residues as raw input materials, setting new value for unexploited resources through the skillful action of fungal mycelium.”

Image Credit: Sophie Mignon/AFP

Officina Corpuscoli and MOGU

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

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