︎ Creator: Yao Wang
︎ Supervisors:  Jennifer Bissonnette & Peter Yeadon

This study by Yao Wang proposes a sugarcane-mycelium solution to fast furniture, which she has titled ROOTY. Furniture recycling matters more and more these days, as people tend to replace their furnishings, rather than repair them. What can be done?

Since mycelium decomposes and sugarcane bagasse is abundant waste, Yao considered them to be ideal materials for a more sustainable approach to furniture manufacturing. Mixing and growing mycelium and sugarcane bagasse, together, Yao created a new material that has a more appealing surface that’s smoother than just mycelium alone, which is usually rough and has an unpleasant smell. By adding dried shredded ginger to the mixture, and growing the composite, she found that the result produced a fragrance that is more suitable for making home goods. 

To demonstrate her vision for a compostable piece of furniture that’s made of her sugarcane/ginger/mycelium biocomposite, ROOTY, Yao grew a ginger-shaped ambient night lamp. When the lamp has reached the end of its life, you can simply twist and turn the body of the lamp to break it apart, compost the ROOTY shell in your garden, and recycle the electronic components that can be effortlessly removed from the lamp. 

Yao’s project also considered how future consumers might be able to purchase a grow-your-own ROOTY kit that contains molds and dehydrated materials. The user can use this to grow their own parts, for lamps or other furnishings, and get involved in the process of making their own furniture.


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