Circular Lighting Report

Meet the lights made from mushrooms

Danielle Trofe makes lights from mushrooms

A LUMINAIRE designer has created a range of decorative lights made from mushrooms.

Danielle Trofe has just ‘grown’ her first range of fabric shades from mycelium, the root system of fungi.

Trofe compares the manufacture of the MushLume luminaires to gardening, which requires hands-on work, trial-and-error, and ‘most importantly, plenty of TLC’. ‘A lot of designers shop for the materials they design with, but I’m actually growing an organism that’s a living entity,’ she told the Circular Lighting Report. ‘You form a symbiotic relationship with the materials, and become more mindful of the production process from start to finish.’

‘It took a while to formalise the production line,’ she admits. ‘I had to learn about the electrical component of lighting, which, had I known ahead of time, may have steered me in a different direction—so it’s a good thing I was naive.’

Originally from Austin, Texas, Trofe studied marketing and entrepreneurship at Florida State University before moving to Italy to pursue a master’s in interior design at the Florence Design Academy. It was there that Trofe she stumbled upon a textile swatch that would change the trajectory of her career: a fabric composed of mycelium.

‘I realized I wanted to look at nature for more than just aesthetic inspiration,’ she says. ‘I actually wanted to emulate the processes of the ecosystem to create products that would function inside a home just as they would in nature.’

The MushLume lights are already a hit for venues looking for a back-story to their interiors. The hip Hotel Brooklyn Bridge in New York has installed clusters of the shades in its communal areas to acclaim from its guests.

Danielle founded her studio in 2011 with the goal to make sustainable design both accessible and attractive. With an emphasis on biofabrication and biomimicry, much of her work upholds a fundamental value of nature and embodies a systems thinking approach that benefits all life on this planet.

Ray Molony

Recolight Report is an independent guide to the latest developments in sustainable and circular lighting. Learn about the people, products, projects and processes that are shaping our industry’s low carbon future. Plus: explainers on the latest innovations, opinion from thought leaders and video interviews with leading disruptors. Edited by lighting expert, editor and industry figure Ray Molony.