Gen2Seat: Genetic Generation Seat

Credits: Terreform ONE + Genspace,
Mitchell Joachim, Oliver Medvedik,
Melanie Fessel, Maria Aiolova, Ellen
Jorgenson, Shruti Grover, James
Schwartz, Josue Ledema, Tania
Doles, Philip Weller, Greg Pucillo,
Shivina Harjani, Jesse Hull.

MYCOFORM: Multi-Curved Modular
Mycelium Biomaterial Studies

WHY GROW A SURFACE?
For almost ten years our group has
been prototyping with living materials
made from the dendritic
microstructures commonly found in
mushrooms. Many have appropriated
our work in various forms. This
research characterizes seminal
explorations for the use of live
mycelium in architectural and
industrial design applications. The
current iterations focus on known
limitations of this material applied to
complex parametrically driven
formwork. Located throughout this
research are studies that introduce
new methods of growth control of
mycelium in combination with other
biomaterials such as acetobacter
bacteria. We are not making simple
bricks, but compound geometries
mixed with novel biopolymers. The
computational systems deployed in
the process govern and predict the
formal behavior and shape of
mycelium. The ultimate intention of
this biomaterial research is to
potentially replace petroleum-based
plastics with a metabolic and
ecological substance.  

This platform is defined by various
operations we can preform with
mycelium, the primarily underground
fungi threads or hyphae that shape
the vegetative part of fungi. We grew
the fungus Ganoderma lucidum (or
Reishi) into various molds derived
from computational output. In many
cases architects mimic biological
systems, but do not operate in actual
wet laboratory conditions. This effort
required a close collaboration
between biologists and architects to
produce synthetic bio design artifacts
in conjunction with current digital
fabrication techniques.

Applying the tools of synthetic
biology, alongside other biological
disciplines, such as microbiology and
medical tissue engineering, will
allow us to create products that are
100% organic, with minimal waste
and energy expenditure. Our aim is
to use grown materials to reshape the
way people think about
manufacturing products and genetic
engineering.

We have formed the first full-scale
laboratory – Genspace - that
produced a biological Mycoform
module, into a multi-curved
mycelium surface. The Mycoform
module is grown from naturally
occurring and cross-linked
microorganisms. This articulated
parametric alive system is segmental
and can be installed as furniture,
interlocking walls, and building
insulation systems.

We sought to revamp the creation of
Mycoform module to an organic
operation where products are not
artificially assembled but rather
grown. When the Mycoform module
has completed its cycle of use it is
placed in a garden to feed other
organisms.

The internal filler is made up of
mycelia substrate, a combination of
discarded wood chips, gypsum, oat
bran, which is consumed by mycelia
and then hardened into a tough,
durable functional material. The
external skin is bacteria cellulose.
The mycelia substrate and bacterial
cellulose integrate to become a hard
biopolymer that is suitable for
architectural applications and the
Mycoform module.

What can synthetic biology do for
design and vice versa? The
emergence of citizen biotech or DIY
biology must be seen within the
broader context of advanced
technologies becoming ever more
readily available to individuals and
groups. With that availability comes
enhanced opportunities to develop
new ideas. Thus this project was
initiated for the International
Genetically Engineered Machines
(iGEM) conference and more.

We have produced a waste-
consuming, pollution-free Mycoform
module. Biodesign is a nascent field
and this is a step outside of pure
theory and into the realm of practical
application. Our Mycoform module is
not merely an experiment into what is
possible, it is the possible. Research,
development, efficiency,
responsibility and production have all
been factors in the creation of this
unique biopolymer.

Media: biopolymer of acetobacter,
chitin, mycelium.
Size: 20"x 21"x 14".
Support/ Consultation: Ecovative
Design LLC, Suzanne Lee and
BioCouture.
Sponsor: NYU Gallatin.

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