Pare chair: sitting on mushrooms

Using mushrooms as a seat is no longer reserved only for faeries and goblins! The Pare Chair, designed by Glenn Catchpole, is a zero waste design made from a timber veneer and mycelium composite.

The Pare Chair is grown from the ground up. A combination of waste wood chips and timber veneer is fused together by fungus into a dense organic composite, which, once cured, has properties similar to fibreboard. The mycelium works like a glue, bonding together waste sawdust and wood chips. The material can be grown in 3D forms and moulded post growth. The sheets of veneer are cut to size, and the offcuts are used to strengthen certain parts of the chair.

The chair prototype is an example of how material innovation can be applied to concepts that strongly communicate zero waste principles in their form, surface and texture.

The lines of the chair are informed by a 100% zero waste pattern and shape forming process. Relief cuts communicate a zero waste pattern, where they help the veneer stretch around complex surfaces. A section cut out of the veneer’s leg pattern is used for reinforcement within the leg structure.

The seat’s biomorphic and ergonomic form provides comfort, responding to the organic forms of the human figure.

At the end of the chair’s life cycle, it can be composted, providing food for trees (for new wood veneer) and mushrooms (for new mycelium), closing the cycle.

In ongoing research, Catchpole aims to continue refining the material to improve its performance and capability for larger volume production. The chair design will also be refined for commercial production.

Photos: Glenn Catchpole