We like lamps. Whether you’ve got a robot lamp, an actual chocolate lamp, or a lamp that derives its power from algae, you've got the potential to be lighting your room with some pretty sweet tech. As cool as those lamps are, they have one major downside: they aren't grown from mushrooms. That’s where Danielle Trofe’s new lamp, the Mush-lume, parts ways with all the others. She was inspired both by a mushroom’s shape and its actual physical makeup. So she decided to create lampshades out of them.
Danielle begins with agricultural waste products, like corn husks and stalks: the bits you toss in the trash at the end of the day. These are stuffed in to a mold that holds them in place while she injects the mold with liquid mycelium. For those who don’t remember botany 101, that’s a fungus (i.e. a mushroom) that grows over the materials and works as glue. The lamp is then baked, ensuring that the spores can’t reproduce and turn your home into a living, breathing kingdom of fungi. It works just like a real lampshade, but if you ever get tired of it, just toss it on the lawn and led it biodegrade.
"I’m not the first designer or artist to work with mushrooms as a product medium," Trofe says. "But I might be the first lighting designer to tap into a material science that’s already been well-developed and is ready to expand and be adopted into new industries and applications."
That’s pretty difficult to argue against. And while the lampshade doesn't have a ton of practical purpose, it’s certainly interesting. The lamp will biodegrade as you use it, but slowly enough that it shouldn't present much of a problem. It’s a neat idea, and props to Trofe for pulling it off. I might just stick with the chocolate one, myself.