“So, what do you do?” “Oh, I grow lamps from mushroom mycelium.” Try to tell us your last conversation with an artist was more interesting than that. Brooklyn-based designer Danielle Trofe creates her MushLume lighting collection by combining the innate instinct of fungi to take over their environment with the modern marvels of 3-D printing. The result: beautiful, distinctive pieces that mimic the bioluminescence found in nature, crafted sustainably using organic materials.
Time-lapse videos have shown us how rapidly fungi’s root structures regenerate and expand — those are some fast plants! Trofe uses materials made by Ecovative, a New York–based company that supplies mushroom-grown boards, foams and plastics that are “cost and performance competitive with conventional materials.” Crop waste (husks, seed shells, et cetera) plays host to live organisms that process these natural leftovers, turning the mulch into a sturdy, durable “plaster” that expands to fill a 3-D mold in about a week.
People have asked Trofe if they can eat her creations, since they’re all-natural and mushroom-, corn- and seed-based.
“Yes, you could,” she says, tentatively, in the video below, “but it would not taste good at all.”