The Growing Lab

Maurizio Montalti at Myco Design Lab Exposition

By looking at the design discipline as one that analyses, creates and leads the profound transformations characterising the contemporary time we live in, “The Growing Lab” aims to embody a suggestion and a vision about the way plastic materials will change in the future.


Growing lab - Fungal biomass cultivated in liquid culture Maurizio Montalti

“The Growing Lab” proposes a radical paradigm shift, offering a different insight into the objects occupying our everyday life. By moving beyond traditional production methods, a new domestic landscape of “cultivated” objects starts to emerge. This is in fact the “Growing Design” approach, designed and developed by Maurizio Montalti | Officina Corpuscoli: a definition of a new field resulting from the constant exchange between theory and practice, research-based projects and hands-on experimentation, stimulating and promoting further developments, affecting both the scientific and the design field.

Travelling through micro-landscapes and experimental alchemies, it is possible to follow the evolution of “cultivated” objects, deriving from the action of natural, widespread fungal organisms (mushrooms), employed as agents of cohesion and transformation of organic elements, such as fibres and agricultural wastes. By directly feeding on nutrients and compounds available in such substrates, the fungi evolve into an intricate network of filaments – the so-called mycelium -, which act both as a natural binder and as a pure material for the creation of matters, which differ according to the ingredients and the growth conditions implemented. As a result of such process, which utilises local waste and resources or the degradation and transformation of existing polymeric materials, a collection of unique objects comes to life, generating new narratives and new possibilities for future production models. Overall, a purely natural process that can be compared to a sort of “slow” 3-D printing, in which the speed of printing corresponds to the time fungi need for growing.


Growing Lab - new material - pure mycelium different samples1 ©Officina Corpuscoli | Maurizio Montalti Maurizio Montalti

‘The Growing Lab’ is an emerging project which seeks to engage in a strong collaboration with natural systems, indicating unprecedented paths regarding the generation of better and economically sustainable production models, transforming current existing paradigms, systems and networks, and suggesting a shift from the traditional concept of industrial production towards a novel cultivation model.

The project represents an open invitation to the need of researching possible alternatives and potentially different futures, in which plastics exist as a completely natural material. Design, just as our social and cultural dynamics, grows towards complexity. It is indeed needed to design new possibilities and future scenarios, which could allow defining and creating a different world.


Growing Lab - Mycelium binder - growing objects 1 ©Officina Corpuscoli | Maurizio Montalti Maurizio Montalti


Growing Lab by Maurizio Montalti - mycelium - growing objects shown at Myco Design Lab Expo at Mediamatic Fabriek Mycelium objects by Myco Design Lab partner Maurizio Montalti. Shown at Myco Design Lab Expo at Mediamatic Fabriek Maurizio Montalti

The research activities of Montalti’s “The Growing Lab” result from the combination of an autonomous research process with an ongoing collaborative process with partners, such as Utrecht Universiteit and Stichting Mediamatic (“Mycelium Design”). Furthermore, a thank you goes to CNC Exotic Mushrooms for the support given. For more information: