When it comes to furniture, we mostly stick with what we know:
Wood, plastic, little bit uh metal. You got yourself a chair folks. But with all our focus on only a handful of materials, the trash can start to pile up quick without us really thinking of the many, many alternatives out there.
Eben Bayer however, has other plans.
That’s because he’s the CEO of Ecovative, a firm located outside Albany that uses natural and renewable materials like hemp and mycelium (the vegetative part of fungi) to create products like wall insulation, packing materials, and furniture. And the best part, they’re already available for purchase. There’s a chair called the Stack Stool that could be sitting in your living room for a mere $99. Want to go even cheaper? A simple desk organizer can be had for $12. Thinking of mixing some smoooth lo-fi beats, or starting a podcast in your garage? Grab some sound-dampening tiles for $22. Not bad, really.
But the real goal here is to do ‘ol mother Earth a solid, which is why mushrooms are perfect. They’re completely biodegradable, which makes them the best choice for renewable materials.
“One of the reasons I think biomaterials are so important is because everything we [Ecovative] grow is bio-compatible with the planet,” said Bayer. “No matter where it ends up, it doesn’t give off any toxins during its life. People care about that.”
And they aren’t the only company doing it. Mycoplast is another fungi-fueled entity that’s looking to build materials for space travel out of mushrooms and “mushroom bricks.” As well as working on a way to create a mushroom-version of leather that could be turned into things like fancy handbags.
“Let’s make products that people can actually experience and buy that are beautiful,” said Bayer. “Our goal is to make an impact on the world, but making it so that consumers can experience this too will only help us.”