FIRST AIRED: September 18, 2017

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>> Forget DIY flat-pack furniture, this lamp has been grown from fungus. Designers in London have grown several pieces of fungus furniture, all lightweight, strong, and completely compostable. Taking the thread-like vegetative parts of fungus called mycelium, they then mix it with waste wood chips.>> And then over time, that spread throughout the wood, and you have what we call myceliated wood.
At that point we then take it, tear it apart, put it into a mold, and then it regrows within that mold into the shape that we want it.>> After experimenting with different woods, they found the mycelium grew particularly well in woodchip from hazel and goat willow. Two British wood species largely without economic value and often considered waste.
Once packed into molds, all you have to do is wait for the fungus to take shape. The designer then decides when to halt the growth.>> So as designers, we can control the process by understanding how the fungus behaves. We can decide when we want to terminate the process and preserve the shape and the textures as they are.
At that point we then dry the piece, and it's ready.>> So far, they've grown fungus lamps and stools, but believe their eco-friendly process could be scaled up. Convincing people to have fungus furniture in their homes, though, is still a challenge to overcome. The first batch of their fungus furniture is on display this week as part of the London Design Festival.