Lars is a designer and creative researcher working in between design and science, technology and craft.
His project 'Sculpting with Air' envisions a new sensibility when designing with living organisms. Inspired by the effect of natural forces on living organisms he introduces airflow as a new tool to the mycelium toolbox. This work is an ongoing research project with support by the Department of Microbiology of VU Brussels.
Sculpting with Air' has been recognised by the LVMH group and is shortlisted for the Maison/0 Green Trail Prize 2021. In addition, Lars won the Viaduct Material Award to support his research and design process for this project.
'Sculpting with Air' proposes an entirely new approach to shaping pure mycelium foam. The project investigates how design tools evolve beyond traditional technologies e.g. moulding when designing with living organisms.
The material is grown in a growth chamber under special conditions of high humidity, high CO2 and ambient temperatures including a constant airflow.
Mycelium mimics the airflow pattern as it grows. This enables entirely new possibilities to sculpt the material into particular shapes.
Depending on the mycelium strain, growing conditions and substrate, different qualities of foam can be achieved. For that reason, the material is versatile and highly customisable. This can be useful to replace petrol-based, high-performance foams in products like footwear. 'Sculpting with Air' responds to the need for more sustainable practices within this industry. Pure mycelium foam is grown from entirely regenerative sources. For this process, agricultural residues like corn husk and hemp are used as raw materials.
Moving into an age of growing materials means rediscovering natural forces to guide and nudge natural growth.Instead of forcing living organisms to fit into existing industrial processes and preconceived moulds, we can learn to harness growth and natural forces as a tool for shaping.