Mushroom light shades

In the past two years, we have reported several times on mycelium, the threadlike network of fungi. This material grows fast and in any desired shape, which gives many design and even packaging possibilities. At the Dutch Design Week 2016 (22-30 October), a new company called Krown Design (now was launched that grows light shades from mycelium.

Products grown from mushrooms have many advantages. Mycelium is high performing, cost-competitive, compostable, renewable, fireproof, to name a few. It is also not derived from petroleum and volatile organic compound (VOC) free.

Krown Design sells the shades pre-grown, or in a handy ‘Grow it yourself’ kit. This kit comes with a bag that contains stabilised mycelium and agricultural waste, on which the spores feed. All you have to add is some water and a little flour for the mycelium to reawaken and start growing. The more expensive kits also come with a small or a medium lamp shade mould made from cardboard, to grow your own shade.

The instructions are easy enough: add water and flower to the mixture, close the bag and let the spores grow for 3 to 4 days. When the material is fully white, it can be put in the mould, where it needs to grow for 5 to 6 days. To stop the growing process, the material needs to be dried, which kills the spores.

Krown Design 3D-prints the moulds they use from a renewable biopolymer, and these moulds can be reused. They are filled with local agricultural waste, water, and mycelium. Krown Design aims to leave a negative carbon footprint.

The company has examples of spores of the oyster mushroom (white) and shiitake (white with brown spots) and their own strains. A wide variety of mycelia can be used to grow products, but Krown Design is still experimenting. At the Dutch Design Week, they displayed an example of a light shade with oyster mushrooms growing on the inside. This was accomplished by varying and controlling the growing conditions of mushrooms on specific spots. They are able to mimic the natural cycle of a year, within two weeks.

Aside from lamp shades, Krown Design has also made a table, a stool, and a cooler from mycelium. The cooler is very effective, as a chilled bottle of wine put in it in the morning is still equally chilled at the end of the day, without the use of cooling-elements. These elements can be used for an even longer lasting cooling effect. While they currently only sell light shades, the company intends to expand its product line in the near future.

More mushroom-based materials you can find here and here.

Photos: Krown-design