Sculpture in sustainable Mushroom Packaging
Tom Dixon uses Mushroom Packaging

Tom Dixon uses Mushroom® Packaging to create a sculpture for Milan Design Week 

Tom Dixon sculpture in mycelium

British designer Tom Dixon wanted to showcase cutting-edge sustainable materials for his show Twenty at Milan Design Week exploring two decades of his work. 

The Problem

The search for credible alternatives to synthetic foams has been frustrating, with very few possibilities to chuck out the petrochemicals in favour of a planet-friendly material that performs to an equivalent level.  

Fortunately Tom and was familiar with the power of fungi. 

He had already worked successfully with U.S-based innovators Evocative and the Magical Mushroom Company® to produce moulded components for objects made of mycelium as well as a mycelium chair.  

What Tom now wanted to challenge is the perception of mycelium again, a material that is mainly used for packaging so far, in his exhibition at Milan Design Week. 

The Solution

Working with the Magical Mushroom Company®, Tom Dixon felt that  Mushroom® Packaging - the biodegradable alternative to polystyrene - could be applied to other possibilities such as sculpture. 

At its new Attenborough plant, the Magical Mushroom Company® grew compostable mycelium packaging in just days: ready in time to be shipped to Italy for Milan Design Week and assembled into the artwork Mycelium Towers. 

In special moulds, Magical Mushroom Company® combined mycelium and recycled substrate such as hemp to make unique material for Tom’s sculpture. 

The Results

Visitors to the Milan Design Week could see the scope, beauty, texture and possibility of mycelium in Tom’s sculpture.  

And the Mycelium Towers produced by Magical Mushroom Company® are not just sculptures.  

Additionally, Tom discovered that mycelium-bound hemp made an effective scent diffusing material. His design team infused the totem-like Towers with his new Root scent to create a special atmosphere bringing further awareness to this future material. 

What would you make with Mushroom® Packaging? 

What's interesting right now is probably new ways of working with old materials

The mysterious world of mushrooms has recently exploded into one of the most exciting sectors of scientific study, where a seemingly never-ending stream of extraordinary revelations about the power of fungi is attracting huge interest in what was previously a hidden world. 

There's a lot of new material research going on, but there are very few things which are mature enough to compete with the old materials that are done in huge bulk. But that equation is changing. 

What's interesting right now is probably new ways of working with old materials and it's not like mycelium is new. It's just it's never been used in that way, and the innovations can also come from odd places.

Tom Dixon, British Designer