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Martine Pollier
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Living materials

In Vivo or how to ensure a living building?


With the support of:

Bento architecture
Elise Vanden Elsacker

Fungi play an important role in the networks between plants. In November, we zoom in on the potential of these materials in construction. A scientific and a design perspective show the mesmerising, radical implications of mycelium materials on how we can look at building processes in the future. Building maintenance, for example, suddenly takes on a different meaning and becomes rather caring, keeping alive. What are the possibilities of these new living materials? In what ways does it challenge our building logic and subsequently our behaviour?

Hub_For_Biotechnology_in_the_Built_Environment Elise Vanden Elsacker

For the Venice Biennale 2023, Wallonia selected an interdisciplinary team with the young architectural firm Bento and philosophy of science Vinciane Despret at the helm. They note that the way we produce (building) materials urgently needs to change. They look to the future by studying living things and explore the possibility of making building materials based on fungi (mycelium), which are available, sustainable, self-generating and cheap. Their research into ‘the living city’ under the title “IN VIVO” entices us to visit them across the language border. Focusing both on architecture, art and design, Bento’s research focuses on the potential of the mycelium, the vegetative part of the mushroom. Elise Vanden Elsacker, a researcher at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, is also researching funghi as a raw material, keeping mycelium materials alive and its self-healing properties.

Bento Architectes


Bento Architects Bento Architects – Hertz_Ceramics hoven_Centre d_art contemporain du Luxembourg

Bento Architects

Elise Vanden Elsacker, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Elise Vanden Elsacker Elise Vanden Elsacker – Biowelding living mycelium blocks

ugo_carmeni Elise Vanden Elsacker – Belgian pavilion biennale 2023

Elise Vanden Elsacker Elise Vanden Elsacker – Mycelium insulation panel