Studio Polpo’s Mark Parsons explains why he loves mycelium, digital printing and flexible structures


In-house grown mycelium panels, digitally printed fabric, and a flexible, removable clamping system for smaller structures are three favorites of Studio Polpo co-founder Mark Parsons.

Pavilion Mycelium. Credit: Studio Polpo


We have explored the use of mycelium in architecture, growing our own panels using cardboard waste and pink oyster mushroom spawn, as well as using a “ready-to-use mix” that uses hemp stalks from Grown Bio. A mix of these panels will be used on a pavilion project in Sheffield, and the Oyster Panels (which not only bind waste together to create the panels but produce food) have been a great way to engage people in the circular economy.,

Garden game, The Hepworth.
Garden game, The Hepworth. Credit: Studio Polpo


We have used the Kee-Klamp system on several projects, for small structures and furniture, most recently for the Hepworth Gallery garden play awareness project, where we had it powder coated. On this project and on previous projects, we connected it in various ways with coated plywood panels and casters. What’s important to us is that it can be dismantled and reconfigured by customers and users at a stage where the originally envisioned design is no longer needed, reducing waste and providing flexibility.

Great street of exchanges, Venice Biennale.
Great street of exchanges, Venice Biennale. Credit: Jim Stephenson

Digitally printed fabric

We have developed a series of 1:1 composite facade images for our High Street of Exchanges installation at the Venice Biennale, which have been digitally printed onto 110gsm flag knit fabric. We needed something lightweight that allowed the graphics to be visible and colorful from both sides in varying lighting conditions, which was crucial for the space they were displayed in. The panels were suspended and weighted by rods passed through sleeved edges.


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