The Growing Lab / Mycelia consists of an ongoing, process-based research and exploration actively engaging with investigating and assessing methodologies for the implementation of fungal mycelium as a main agent for the development of novel materials, production methodologies and of the related deriving applications in the field of design and beyond.
The project tackles a particularly relevant and urgent issue characterising collective communities worldwide: waste generation and environmental impact originated by oil-based plastic compounds, particularly when embedded in disposable applications and/or products. The Growing Lab looks at the possibility of valuing existing organic waste streams (substrates) by transforming low value products into a vast range of novel matters, each characterised by diverse qualities and suitable for different applications. Within such context, The Growing Lab purposes a radical paradigm shift, offering a different insight into the objects occupying our everyday life and the materials they consist of.
By moving beyond traditional production methods, a new universe of ‘cultivated’ objects starts to emerge.
This allows generating novel and tangible narratives, aiming to actively develop research, solutions and novel perspectives and visions in relation to the constitution of new reliable and varied materials and of the consequently deriving products and systems, contributing to balancing the role of the individual with the ecosystem he’s part of.
The resulting structural and decorative materials are highly interesting for the development of applications and for the production of objects and utilities relating to the fields of design and architecture. By materialising new processes and products characterising our everyday life (i.e. Mycelia collection), The Growing Lab tangibly demonstrates how traditional synthetic, toxic materials (e.g. plastics), could be replaced with novel, 100% natural, fully compostable mycelium- based matters. Rooted in the described background, The Growing Lab / Mycelia introduces a collection of everyday objects, materialised through growth and aiming to effectively communicate a tangible vision about the way materials will change in the future (i.e. biotechnological revolution) and about the way manufacturing processes and techniques will modify accordingly.
Within this framework, The Growing Lab indicates unprecedented paths regarding the generation of better and economically sustainable production possibilities, transforming current existing paradigms, systems and networks, and suggesting a shift from the traditional concept of industrial production towards an innovative model, rooted in cultivation.
The project’s ultimate ambition is the one of stimulating the industry’s attention, with the objective of bridging the existing gap between design-driven research projects and the industry itself, for the creation of a real positive impact that new mycelium-based materials and products will bring about.
Strongly characterised by a creative trans-disciplinary approach and rooted in a collaborative, research-based and experimental practice, MaurizioMontalti’s work tends toward the exploration of the design discipline, aiming to investigate and reflect upon contemporary (material) culture, thereby creating new opportunities and visions both for the (creative) industry and for the broader social spectrum.
He often actively collaborates with professionals from other disciplines in a co-creative process, to arrive at thought-provoking solutions and design outcomes. His work spans across various mediums, previously exploring themes in relation to biotechnology, anthropology, bio- diversity, the ecosystem and the human impact on it, recent production technologies, and the importance of a symbiotic entanglement between natural life-forms, for an alternative advancement of society.
The fascination for the micro-scale, together with a holistic vision of the world as a macro- organism animated by symbiotic relationships are some of Maurizio’s main drives.
Maurizio’s practice, known as Officina Corpuscoli (OC), seeks to reveal unorthodox relationships among existing paradigms. By distilling research and analysis and tangibly materialising relevant facts, Officina Corpuscoli’s approach is to create projects and conditions that allow for a resonant critical experience, by the synthesis of ideas through design.
To this end, the design process and the subsequent materialisation of concepts are often used as tools and strategies for questioning culture, critically and constructively addressing the design field, as well as targeting industry.
Officina Corpuscoli, founded in 2010 and based in Amsterdam, operates as a multidisciplinary studio, providing creative consultancy and developing both commissioned and self-initiated projects, often inspired by and in collaboration with living systems and organisms.
The studio’s work has been widely shown in multiple museums, exhibitions and festivals, both nationally and internationally.
Besides the various activities and projects at OC, Maurizio is the co-founder of Mycoplast, a company focused on industrial scale-up of mycelium based materials, services and products and he is also highly involved in education, currently co-heading the MAD Master (Materialisation in Art and Design) at Sandberg Instituut, as well as teaching, lecturing and mentoring in different national and international academies and universities.
Additionally, Maurizio is co-founder and forming part of the Amsterdam-based WNDRLUST collective, alongside Mike Thompson, Sonja Bäumel and Susana Cámara Leret.
See more: www.corpuscoli.com