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Guest blog: Pauline Bourdon, Sustainability Lead at Team Love on mycelium as alternative material for creative industries

In 2023, Team Love & Temple Design Studio showcased the creative use of mycelium for as a building material at a festival setting at Silver Hayes, an area of Glastonbury Festival. The project set out to explore the potential for mycelium panels, a regenerative material made out of the root network of fungi, to be used as an alternative material in festival builds. In this guest blog Pauline Bourdon, Head of Sustainability at Team Love shares the report and next steps for event professionals looking to use mycelium as an alternative material in future projects. Download the report on Vision: 2025’s resource hub and read the blog below:

This year, Team Love & Temple Design Studio presented a new space at Silver Hayes (Glastonbury Festival) called The Hayes Pavilion. Dedicated to artistic research and development, The Pavilion is centered around the idea that festivals can be at the forefront of a creative use of new technologies, materials and products which will potentially help society move towards a more sustainable future. 

The Hayes Pavilion showcased its first project – 6 degrees aimed at harnessing the interconnected power of mushroom roots – the extraordinary underground network known as mycelium.. The project introduced the use of Mycelium panels and investigated the potential adoption of this biomaterial in the creative industries. When mycelium is fed with agricultural waste, it forms a construction material, such as polystyrene, foam and plastics, but is entirely organic and biodegradable. 

“6 degrees is both an exploration of the space between separation and the freedom to move in that space. Communities develop to all shapes and sizes and have many different facets supporting the growth of the individual and the community connection as a whole. This can be seen both in the natural world and human behaviours. The mycelium network is a transformational space where each facet helps to nourish nurture and communicate with the world it inhabits. “ Simon Carroll

In November, Team Love released a report presenting their findings, challenges and recommendations with the hope that this piece will help derisk the future use of this fantastic, regenerative and nature-inspired biotechnology. To implement effective change, alongside new bio-materials, it is necessary for our industry to rethink its approach to creative builds – from the design process, to scheduling, budgeting and skills development. If we continue to push new biomaterials to be exactly like plastic based existing ones we are at risk of making similar mistakes, damaging the planet further and promoting over consumption. 

By adopting a more informed approach to practices, alongside integrating Life Cycle Analysis choices into our material selections, not only will we be able to make environmentally conscious purchases, we will also be supporting improved working conditions for people throughout the entire life cycle of a product and its supply chain.

We encourage everyone to:

  • Read the report here & watch the short documentary on 6 Degrees
  • Talk to your friends & networks about the project
  • The Hayes Pavilion is a returning platform at Glastonbury each year, keep an eye out for our new project in 2024
  • Continue to be curious about new solutions to fight the climate and social crisis
  • Mycelium and mushrooms are awesome, get to learn more about them.

The project is led by Silver Hayes’ Team Love and designed by Simon Carroll from Temple Design Studio in association with Big Team CIC, Glastonbury Festival and manufacturer, Biohm & Grown Bio. It is also supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

This blog originally appeared in our December 2023 Vision: 2025 newsletter. Sign up to receive monthly event sustainability news, case studies and guest blogs direct to your inbox.