The « Carbocycene Project » focuses on the prototyping of a distributed model for the upcycling of lignocellulosic waste resources in Arles and the surrounding Camargue region using mycelium technology.

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How can mycelium be adopted as a technology for building?

A project with strong environmental, economic and societal ambitions, Carbocycene focuses on ‘distributed’ models of production as a means of activating decentralized, low-energy and non-toxic manufacturing of small volumes of products. Here "upcycling of lignocellulosic waste" refers to the transformation of abundant biomass --specifically from domestic food chains, agriculture and invasive species by feeding it to mycelia, the vegetative state of fungi.

The growth of mycelium occurs through the rapid proliferation of ramified filaments known as hyphae, creating an excellent binding network. Its density, its malleability and its robustness can be modulated depending on what it is fed with and how it is grown. All these exceptional qualities represent great potential for the fields of architecture and design.

Atelier Luma is currently conducting some experiments on mycelium fed with local agro-waste : lavender straw, sunflower marrow, rice straw as well as invasive species like primrose willow. Several applications of this new and locally produced material have already been considered, such as wall panels, acoustic panels and lighting devices.The research carried out by Carbocycene also aims at setting up “Grow It Yourself” workshops and toolkits made up of everyday objects, teaching participants how to grow modular prototypes using mycelium and lignocellulosic waste.

The larger purpose of the project is to engage and link upcycling communities of designers and producers at the scale of the collective. The near-term proof of concept for Carbocycene will be the distributed production of a mycelium wall at the Kitchen Collaborative in Griffeuille in October 2019.

Project team

  • Mae-Ling Lokko

    Architectural technologist

  • Fanny Guiol

    Project Manager, Atelier Luma

    Arles, France

  • Anne Drilleau

    Coordinator, Petit à Petit

    Arles, France

  • Mathieu Menard

    Prototypist, Atelier Luma

    Arles, France

  • Institut polytechnique Rensselaer

    New York, USA

Project perimeter