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THE LIVING ROOM
In collaboration with:
Jane Scott, Romy Kaiser, Armand Agraviador, Ben Bridges with help from Layla van Ellen and Aileen Hoenerloh
Why do we live in square, hard boxes?
And why do we line these boxes with fragile cement-based boards which are environmentally damaging to produce, do not allow the walls to breath, and cannot be re-used or recycled? Why are our buildings responsible for 40% of global CO2 emissions?
The Living Room is grown from fungal mycelium, sawdust and wool. This innovative form of construction uses organic, locally available waste materials and microbial processes to radically reduce the environmental impact of construction, whilst allowing us to reimagine the spaces that we inhabit. Our work is a reaction to rigid, hard, permanent buildings, instead we have created a soft, cosy, snug internal space with thick sculpted walls that can be inhabited, which can be composted when no longer required.
The shape and form of the Living Room, and the soft interior surface, is created from a knitted canopy hand crafted by the team using Herdwick wool. Herdwick sheep are a traditional breed that live in the hills of the Lake District and produce a coarse wool that is not suitable for fine yarns required for fashion knitwear. But the coarse nature of the wool is perfect to support mycelium growth. The scale of the knitting is vast, the canopy measures 4m in diameter with a height of 2m, and to achieve the seamless surface the fabric was knitted to shape in one single piece, this creates the undulating form ready for coating with the mycelium substrate mix. The flexibility of the knitted canopy means that the final form of the structure can be determined on site during installation.
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