Student Works


Jacob Kritzinger

MDes Fall 2022


FungalForm is an evaporative tower cooler incorporating a replaceable mycelium core, or MycoCore, designed to grow the user mushrooms. FungalForm has the ability to both actively and passively cool the environment around it. Furthermore, through intelligent control software, FungalForm can self-modulate its active evaporative cooling stage to provide the MycoCore with the optimal environmental conditions for mycelial and mushroom growth.

Mycelium has been proven to be highly efficient at biodegrading petroleum hydrocarbons and a number of plastics. It also acts as a hyper-effective bioabsorption agent, absorbing a considerable variety of toxins, such as heavy metals and toxic inorganic and organic chemical compounds. These attributes make mycelium an excellent candidate for aiding in the bioremediation of the world’s freshwater sources.


This thesis aims to design an evaporative cooler which houses a mycelium-inoculated grow core, with the intention of making mushroom cultivation as commonplace as the growth of indoor plants. The grow core will consist of a replaceable 3D printed form, optimised for mycelial and mushroom growth, filled with specifically formulated substrates pre-inoculated with mycelium. In addition, the thesis will include the development of a circular product ecosystem which includes biomaterial harvesting for the fabrication of manufacturing materials, mycelium cultivation processes and a mycelium product subscription network where expended mycelial cores are exchanged bimonthly.

Italian Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus pulmonarius) growing on a 3D printed MycoCore. The MycoCore is printed from Alage based PLA. Home page of the FungalForm mobile app. The FungalForm app controls the device, orders new MycoCores, displays mycoremediation data and shares daily mushroom recipe recommendations.Discussion

Designing for living materials like mycelium requires an entirely different design methodology from traditional product design. One must account for many variables that must be precisely controlled to achieve healthy mycelial growth. Instead of design for manufacturability, one could say it requires design for habitability. Through designing FungalForm and performing the research to write this thesis, it has become clear to me that we must design products with a more personal relationship with nature. We can create a beautiful dialogue between artefact and life by utilising more natural materials and actual living matter in our products.

FungalForm Prototype


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