Mycelium – Printing



The fungal print project is an attempt to gain in-depth insight into the growth of mycelium. Mycelium, the basis from which mushrooms grow, is a fine-meshed structure that grows when the spores of the fungus are grown under the right conditions. With the fungal printer we developed, a quantity of inoculated growth medium can be placed on a linen support with great precision, after which the fungus is cultivated under controlled conditions. The mycelium grows in the places where the growth medium is present into a covering layer of white fungal threads that we see as a pixel in this project. The fascination of controlling this beautiful natural process gives us the opportunity to print patterns that manifest themselves through the growth of the mycelium. The possibilities have been thoroughly investigated over a period of one year and brings us close to a possible application.



When working on speculative designs it helps to envision a complete value chain in order to research wether the speculative design has any realistic tangible future. In this case we tried to imagine how this technology could make us money, in other words: is there a potential business case. We imagined having a printing company printing mycelium banners for festivals and events. These cultural events often last just for a day or a weekend but still rely on signage and banners to guide/promote/explain their visitors. For these temporary communications a linen banner with a mycelium based ink would work sufficiently. After the event has ended our company retrieves the banners, washes them without any polluting output and reprints the banners for a different upcoming event. It helps to focus the design and prototyping when at a certain moment parameters are in place, even though they are fictional.