From helmets to hives, designers are flexing fungi’s functionality


In Vancouver, online magazine Yanko Design has done a deep dive on mycelium-based production innovations, which include innovative concepts like helmets and Mars habitats. 

The publication’s thorough list illustrates the diverse end markets interested in creating sustainable and biodegradable products from the thread-like roots of mushroom-producing fungi.  

For example, a “Grow It Yourself” helmet kit uses mycelium and natural binders to enable consumers to grow a helmet—perfectly fitted to their unique head size and shape—in the comfort of their own homes. 

Design student Stephanie Singer has developed a fireproof, biodegradable grill made from mycelium and other renewable materials, and Seventh Generation is working on a plastic-free oral care kit using renewable materials like cellulose, grass, and mycelium.  Another designer has created bee hives made of cork, wood, and mycelium to protect farm pollinators from predators and elements.

Mycelium is also included in a slate of renewable materials being used by Re-Made to create biodegradable containers for food packaging, and NASA is eyeing the functional fungi as a building material for future Mars missions.