Exploring MYCO ALGA: The 3D Printed Organic Tiles Revolutionizing Natural Aesthetics


Tiles constructed from fungi, waste, and algae may initially elicit responses of disbelief and repulsion. However, beyond these initial reactions lies a unique sustainability concept utilizing innovative technology and intricate algorithms. The bioMATTERS design and research studio, located in London and New York, specializes in the development of bio-digital textiles, products, and material systems culled from living cells, bacteria, fungi, algae, and various waste products derived from nature. The Go designers Nancy Diniz and Frank Melendez aim to meet the daunting climate challenges through innovative solutions and sustainable product manufacturing. The MYCO-ALGA tile system is one such product, with individually placed tiles forming a continuous, cream and green pattern resembling an indoor nature-like ambiance.

The topmost priorities for bioMATTERS are the aesthetics and design of a product. However, with MYCO-ALGA, the designers aim to promote not only bio-aesthetics but also practical ecology. They seek to encourage a shift towards biomaterials by demonstrating the potential of natural organisms and waste in product design. The accomplishment of MYCO-ALGA is a completely biodegradable product that encapsulates a variety of technological aspects and mathematical elements alongside its organic materials. Summarily, MYCO-ALGA is a creation brought to life by computer-aided design, robot-controlled production, and dyes and cultivation by microbes.

The manufacturing procedure for these tiles is multifaceted. Initially, the tiles are virtually designed through algorithms before being shaped through 3D printing. Materials for building are sourced from a paste made from industrial and household waste. This paste forms the base for the growth of mycelium, a fungal network. Upon being shaped from this material, the tiles are placed in a climate-controlled environment for about two weeks for the mycelium to grow, naturally spread, and encompass the entire tile surface, acting as a binding agent. To halt the growth, the tiles are placed in an oven to initiate drying and dehydration. The result is a lightweight and durable tile.

Following this step, the application of bio-pigments comes into play. These bio-pigments are derived from algae biomass and are printed onto each individual tile using a 3D printing technique. This green branching on each tile accounts for the aesthetic end touch. It is this particular shape and hue of the branch that creates the consistent pattern of the tile system, resulting in a wholly natural aesthetic. Additional details about bioMATTERS, their work and MYCO-ALGA can be found on their website HERE.

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