News & Events

3D Printing Living Furniture from Fungus

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

 
By Tobin Dimmitt
 
20100815_1818_Mold_cc3_by_BobBlaylockThat cool stuff on the left is an extremely close look at mycelium, a stringy network that composes what are basically the roots of mushrooms. That is one square millimeter (less than 1/8″) so as you can imagine, the right species of mycelium can grow tightly by human standards.
 
If mycelium is tight, perhaps it can also be strong. Eric Klarenbeek decided to try out this potential strength. So to turn it into a material for furniture, he tried 3D printing it.
 
Klarenbeek 3D prints straw in paste form with bits of yellow oyster mushroom mycelium throughout, in a furniture shape such as a chair. The mycelium eats the straw and grows through it. When the chair is strong, Klarenbeek dries it out and covers it with bioplastic… unless he wants it to sprout mushrooms. And for prototypes, of course you do.
 
Myceliumchair_Studio_Eric_Klarenbeek
 
This chair is supposed to be a concept to inspire Dutch Design Week visitors to consider building just about anything out of living material, but to me it looks close to a realistic product, as long as you stop the mushrooms on time. Beyond furniture? Klarenbeek is hoping people will explore the strength and safety of mycelium enough to develop living architecture.
 
Thanks goes to Inhabitat for the news
 
Mycelium close-up photo is CC 3.0 by Bob Blaylock
 




StoneGable at the Porch Party

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

 
It’s the season for fall link parties. From the Falling for Fall Porch Party I chose one of the six members. My choice is StoneGable for the gorgeous tartan blanket and array of pumpkins. Yvonne did a beautiful job conveying fall hospitality with her soft textures and elegant details. Visit her blog to see what I mean and then visit the other five bloggers.
 
Pumpkins!
 




Table Slides Clutter Underneath

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

 
When you get home you might throw the contents of your pockets on a hallway table. Or you might prefer to hide the clutter by placing a basket or container on top of the table. Grégoire de Lafforest suggests that you toss clutter inside the table. Console Balka is a table with a slide in the top that leads to a basket beneath. To pick up your things again, just bend the flexible basket downwards. The best thing about this table is how it gives you the freedom to toss.
 
Gallery at Gessato
 




Jonas Wagell’s Mini House Prefab

Monday, October 6th, 2014

 

minihouse5_hires_little

The Mini House by Jonas Wagell is a tiny prefab with modern geometry inside and out, and the added interest of surprising colors. The house takes two days to assemble. Most importantly, the Swedish home is weatherproof and warm enough to live in during the winter.
 
Learn more at Inhabitat
 




Italian Home Blends Old Natural Features with Contemporary Renovations

Monday, October 6th, 2014

 
In this house tour of Casa Fiera, you can see how design firm Massimo Galeotti Architetto started by retaining the natural materials in the house and using them to inspire contemporary renovations of more hardwood. New windows improved natural lighting and the view from the house. Make sure to catch the picture of the bedroom, which is surprisingly dramatic for its natural aesthetic.
 
Tour at Gessato
 




David Mills Custom Homes Varies Design Elements

Monday, October 6th, 2014

 
The following home uses a lot of textures to create exciting rooms. Often wood, two kinds of brick, and large windows exist in single rooms. It also exemplifies what natural light can do for a room. It’s the Liberty Residence designed by David Mills Custom Homes in Liberty, Texas.
 
Photo tour at Home Adore
 




What Is Your First Thought When You See the Word, “Amish?”

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

 
By Tobin Dimmitt
 

When you start talking about the Amish, you hear a variety of responses between two extremes: recoiling in horror at the insularity of some communities; and the shallow affection people have for recipes, quilting, and what looks to them like a simpler lifestyle. Lynette Sowell would like you to know that she is somewhere in the middle. Plain people (the name encompassing plenty of groups like Amish, Hutterites, and Mennonites) are not walking stereotypes. Having met and done business with Amish on a regular basis, I support her view. In our footage of our partner’s stain shop, you see that Amish women’s work is not limited to cooking in Iowa. Sowell has inspiring pictures of Plain people doing unexpected things.
 
Let’s join her at Not Quite Amish.
 




Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery with Curvy Glass Rooms

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

 
Glass can add brilliant effect to an architectural design, and brilliance was exactly what Thomas Heatherwick was aiming for when he created the greenhouses for gin company Bombay Sapphire to grow their flavorful herbs. The curvy glass with stems leading into the main building resemble stills.
 
View the distillery with a video here.
 
For an interview with Heatherwick, click here.
 




Floor to Ceiling Windows Around the Home

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

 
Floor to ceiling windows always make a room’s style say something real. They let light in, they host giant window treatments, and their sheen beautifies a home from the outside as much as from the inside. For a tour of how giant windows can work for a surprising array of rooms, I suggest Alexandra Belgun’s tour on Homedit.
 
Look through
 




Hand Tools for Your Shadowbox?

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

 
By Tobin Dimmitt
 
If you have time to shop for fashionable tools that look bad after they get dirty or bump against each other, ChauhanStudio’s “Handmade 2013″ could be for you. They’re smooth and white with wood, because contemporary designers like smooth edges and white with wood. I wish it weren’t that simple.
 
What else can I say?
 
I can’t always look at my screwdriver.
 
Where Handmade 2013’s handles are plastic, they are smooth, not textured or bumpy, reducing the usefulness of the worker’s tactile sense to do his job. Even where my eyes can reach, my hands do a lot of sensory work and smooth tools provide no guidance or enjoyment.
 
Work is dirty.
 
White is going to get dirty in no time; maybe the idea here is to incorporate fingerprints so that Handmade 2013 is an individualistic design? I don’t want to polish my screwdriver every time I tighten a drawer handle.
 
Most tool users are perfectly happy sticking to our durable, chunky, colorful tools that are made to be used; some of us have even put work into restoring vintage hand tools, and we wouldn’t want to give those up.
 
Handmade 2013 is worth talking about since it applies visual design consciously to a surprising market. But I have no idea who it is supposed to be for. New families will throw together the best items their parents can spare along with inexpensive, conventional looking tools. Tradespeople are hoping to keep their jobs for more than one year and have more important things to worry about than how trendy their tools are.
 
Do I have the wrong idea? Was this tool set only created for the visual appeal in the first place?
 
View the tools at ChauhanStudio’s website
 
Thanks to Maggie McLaughlin and Gessato for the tip