A third of the food produced in the world today goes to waste. There are several causes, one of which is the culling of perfectly edible and nutritious food in order to meet high industry and consumer standards of size, color, weight and blemish level. According to a recent report, up to 40% of fruit and vegetable crops in Britain don’t make it to store shelves because they are deemed too ‘ugly’. Our obsession with appearance is manifesting in our eating habits – and like fashion and cosmetics, industrial production is engineering our food to be artificially ‘perfect’ and bland, rather than naturally rich in look and taste.
A Fine Line is a dining set – half of it has been mass produced, finely cut and given a sleek finish. The other half grew organically from a mix of mushroom mycelium and wood waste, the texture and colour of the resulting structure being nature’s design. The line between industry and nature crosses between them – and on our plates.
I did this project over my first semester at the Design for Social Innovation MFA program. I worked and experimented with the science at SVA's Nature and Technologies Lab and with the guidance of Genspace's Oliver Medvedik; and worked on the wooden parts of the project at SVA's 3D Design Workshop with the guidance of Kevin O'Callaghan and his team. The result was a work of art that went on display at the SVA Gallery over January 2014, as part of the Putting it all on the Table exhibition my class did.
It was a fascinating few months full of unexpected consequences, scientific discoveries, making, hacking, growing and collaborating. To read the process log and for more links on mycelium structuring, please visit the site I built for documentation: http://fineline-my.co/