When Brooklyn-based designer Danielle Trofe discovered collaborators Ecovative Design , she was eager to apply their newly developed mushroom-based material. A walk through her local neighborhood on trash day—when streets are littered with plastic destined for the landfill—inspired Trofe to create the biodegradable Mush-Lume lamp made from Ecovative's amalgamation of mushroom mycelium and agricultural byproducts such as corn stalks and seed husks. Stored in molds, the mycelium grows and the natural materials combine. After several days, the material is removed from the molds, heated and dried, resulting in an entirely organic and compostable material.
"Ecovative Design is an exciting young company whose ethos is to replace toxic, unsustainable materials with content that is sustainable and compostable," says Trofe. "As a designer of furniture and lighting, I’m trying to tap into a material science that’s already been well developed and is ready to expand and be adopted into new industries and applications."
Trofe calls Ecovative Design the world leader in applying mycological technology to the organic manufacture of structural materials. She believes this collaboration could result in an expansion of the innovative mushroom material into the home goods industry. "Mush-Lume was a jumping off point," she says. "It has received such a great response so far and continues to fuel my design process. There are several new designs in development that will be made entirely out of the mushroom material—and they’re not all lamps!"
Mush-Lume's shade is constructed of the mycelium matter and paired with a base made of FSC-certified wood and hand-cast concrete. The design is playful and hints at the substance from which it is derived. Mush-Lume will launch at New York's Wanted Design show in May.