BY: ALEX BROWN
Between 2011 and 2015, Danielle Trofe’s design firm claimed broad accolades from high-minded and international award committees—15 in total. Her product demanded the attention of a worldwide community of environmentalists, designers, and sustainability-oriented progressives, likely for its elegant simplicity. Her product, after-all, was simply a lampshade. But it’s what the lampshade is made of that has the potential to reconnect nature and home-decor.
Her lampshades, in short, are made from mushrooms. Mycelium to be more accurate – “the root structure for mushrooms,” Trofe said in a Mashable video. “It’s basically nature’s glue.” The lampshade’s 100 per cent organic material is made using a bi-product from the agricultural industry: crop waste. This essentially means a mulch-like combination of seed husk, corn stock, and other unused agricultural components. Then, Trofe injects it with liquid mushroom mycelium, a rapidly regenerative material that only takes about four to seven days to solidify into a custom dome-like mould resembling that of a lampshade. After the material solidifies, it’s dried and heated so that it maintains its shape, resembling paper-mache. The lamps are technically edible, though admittedly, they wouldn’t taste great.
The lampshade’s 100 per cent organic material is made using a bi-product from the agricultural industry: crop waste.
The reason these lampshades have been gaining so much attention is attributed to a few things. They have an earthy-aesthetic, and it’s undeniably cool to have a giant mushroom-shaped lamp that is literally made from a mushroom. Moreover, though, it’s refreshing to see products being made from what would otherwise amount to waste. It’s innovation and entrepreneurship with a sustainable edge. Best of all, perhaps, is that when you get sick of your lamp—eventually everything goes out of style—it isn’t garbage, but rather it becomes compost.