Project Description

2018 / Lund University

Skivling is an earthenware container for growing oyster mushrooms at home.

Background
We know that it’s not sustainable to base our life on linear resource flows, fossil fuels and non-renewable toxic energy sources but we still do. If we want to create a sustainable living arrangement based on local cyclic resource flows and renewable energy, what would that look like?

Brief
Identify an activity or area of interest with linear character. Develop an alternative system for that activity or area with a clearly cyclic character. The result should be a casted object that embodies the proposed cyclic system.

The problem

What we eat is often produced, packaged and shipped to us from factories far away from our dinner tables. It’s a system with significant environmental impact due to the carbon dioxide emissions related to shipping and packaging. By moving from an industrial food chain to a local one the need for shipping and packaging would be diminished and the carbon footprint of our food consumption greatly reduced.

Oyster mushrooms

Oyster mushrooms are easy to grow at home year round and they stand out as exceptional allies for improving human and environmental health. They are richly nutritious, medicinally supportive and requires very little maintenance.

Design process

After having established what conditions oyster mushrooms thrive in I began exploring different concepts. I focused on shapes that would be suitable for casting while having an unobtrusive form language and aesthetic. By making simple sketch models I further explored the most promising concepts.

Manufacturing

The container is made by pouring earthenware into a plaster mold where the capillary forces creates a layer of earthenware inside the mold that is left to dry. A process called slip casting. Once the cast is firm enough to handle it is removed from the mold to further dry before trimming, glazing and firing.

Result

The project resulted in an earthenware container that allows people to grow oyster mushrooms at home using wood chips, water and mushroom spores. The container has a partially glazed surface that creates a humid growing environment with good airflow. Fresh mushrooms can be harvested from the surface of the container 2-4 months after planting.

Exhibitions

Skivling was exhibited at Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair 2019 as part of the Forecast exhibition along with projects from students at the School of Industrial design at Lund University. During the summer of 2019 it was also exhibited at Form/Design Center in Malmö.