“I started working with fungi as part of my design practice a few years ago,” he tells Nation Multimedia. The work is meant to draw attention to the benefits of humans engaging with species that are usually “disregarded.”
Much of the art is made from mycelium, the underground part of a mushroom that is composed of a network of tiny threads. Montalti feeds the fungi so it grows into molds he crafts from wood, clay, plastic, or plaster. “They feed on such plant matter and while degrading it, they also extend their microscopic filamentous threads and they create this very interconnected network of threads which works as a binding glue, you could say as a natural glue,” Montalti says. Among his work, a vase took 10 days to “grow”, while a chair was made in 20 days. Montalti’s creations are on display at Microbia, a microbe museum in Amsterdam.