The fruit bowl is perhaps one of the most repeated motifs across art history, one that has allowed artists to display their virtuous know-how for centuries. From Caravaggio’s revolutionary Basket of Fruit back in 1596 to the mid-2010s obsession for #foodie stills sharing, this object has been reinterpreted over and over again, with its symbolic meaning varying with culture.
Now, with designer Heron Preston’s latest reinterpretation of the motif, we see sustainability join the cherished art and gastronomy equation. “A Fruit Bowl by Heron Preston for MycoWorks” is built with an innovative mushroom-based material called Reishi™, provided by MycoWorks. Founded by Philip Ross and Sophia Wang, the San Francisco-based biotechnology company pioneered the use of Mycelium, a material increasingly taking over the fashion industry.
The inimitable, one-edition-only offering is the latest take on art imitating life and reimagines home decor through Reishi™. The flexible yet durable material simulates the look of animal leather but comes from infinitely renewable mushroom root networks, which makes it plant-based. Regarding the significance of the collaboration, Preston commented, “A fruit bowl is usually one of the first objects that painters depict to demonstrate their skills and understanding of the medium.”
He continued, “And this is an exercise on how this material (Fine Mycelium), through my lens is getting its start – as a fruit bowl. A material with endless possibilities and applications, like a painting. The fruit made of Fine Mycelium messages new beginnings and a future not bound by our past but pushed forward through our imagination and human ingenuity; a breakthrough in materials science and biotechnology.”
MycoWorks’ Co-Founder and Chief of Culture, Sophia Wang, added, “Given MycoWorks’ roots in art, this partnership with Heron Preston represents our company’s enduring values of thoughtful design and aesthetics, wide-ranging inspiration, and visionary imagination. Over the last decade, MycoWorks has grown to over 160 employees and produces tens of thousands of sheets of material per year, but these values have and will always hold true.”
The partnership was reportedly born out of a shared appreciation for the sensory attributes and limitless design possibilities of Mycelium and Reishi™. The piece will drop in early 2023 as part of Preston’s soon-to-launch digital platform focused on L.E.D. (Less Environmentally Destructive), with a further range of designs to come.
Mycelium-based products are seemingly having a moment in fashion and despite the ongoing debate of to what extent vegan leather is the most sustainable option, the mushroom-based material is proving to be a suitable alternative to plastic that lowers environmental impact. A notable use of the material this year included Mr. Bailey’s nature-themed adidas sneaker packaging or Balenciaga’s first plant-based leather piece. And while it is extremely exciting to see eco-conscious initiatives replace pollutant synthetic-derived materials, we hope the Mycelium doesn’t get driven for newness more than it does for demand and purpose.