The project, called The Living Things, is the result of a partnership between architectural designer Jacob Douenias and industrial designer Ethan Frier.
At present, The Living Things exhibit is installed at The Mattress Factory, an extension of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. FastCoexist shares that in the furniture, spirulina (an incredibly nutrient-dense, protein packed blue-algae) lights up the show. Commonly renowned for its superfood benefits, in this design it turns what would ordinarily be wasted into something that can be used.
According to the designers’ statement, “These living structures recycle light, heat, and carbon dioxide from buildings and their inhabitants into rich green biomass which can be consumed as sustenance, used as agricultural fertilizer, or converted to biofuel.”
Housed at a converted mattress factory, the installation demonstrates how such architectural pieces may be integrated into everyday life in three vignettes. As the blue-green algae can double as a food source, the kitchen arena seems to be the most logical place to employ its luminescent abilities.
In the picture above, a complex ‘life support system’ is installed, including nearly half a mile of tubing hidden in the cabinetry. 3D-printed nylon knobs are embedded into the surface of the workstation, allowing visitors to control eighteen different valves that allow harvesting of the spirulina when it’s ready for consumption or other uses.
In other installations, a dining set is accompanied by wall-mounted lamps filled with luminescent, living spirulina. Nearby, a comfortable sitting area invites visitors to catch u pin one of the low-slung chairs as a soft green glow from overhead lamps lights their socialization.
As it is intended to inspire curious minds, The Living Things exhibit primarily exists as art. But as the system is functional, it’s possible that other architectural designers may be inspired by the effective “liquid plant” and utilize it in their future works.