Visionary Phil Ross on mushrooms and how they will change the world

Phil Ross on mushrooms by Kirsty Allen

Phil Ross has always been fascinated by mushrooms. As he says, they seem like alien organisms that somehow landed and now thrive on our planet.

Ross studied their structure and began to use his findings in his artwork. Then he began to wonder. Could he channel some of the extraordinary attributes of fungi into materials that could benefit mankind?

So he set up a company and after years of careful research and experimentation he began to create objects and materials that could have a huge impact on all of us. As you can see from the short film, Ross’ delving has the potential to change the way we live and even think about the world – it’s truly inspirational.

One if the products that have come out of Ross’ experimentation is the Mushroom Building Block, which has been nominated for several design awards. This invention is made from a mushroom based fibre – mycelium. The blocks are surprisingly strong, comparing favourably to concrete in terms of being resistant to water, fire and mould and have better insulation qualities. And of course they offer a huge leap forward in terms of sustainability. They use a fraction of the resources needed to construct more equivalent blocks. Basically the blocks are stronger than concrete and manufactured from agricultural waste and could revolutionise the construction industry.

The film is part of the Mazda ‘Rebels with a Cause in the World’ initiative which we have featured before in Flux. The aim is to raise the profile of some of the world’s greatest innovators; people who are really challenging how we see the world. The Mazda Rebels are people who are coming up with radical but positive ideas that could help shape our future. And building blocks are not the only way that Phil Ross thinks that mushrooms or mycelium could help change the world. He reckons they could even be a power source that could help power and build our space ships of tomorrow. It may seem incredible but the humble mushroom could shape all our futures, all because of the passion, and entrepreneurial verve of one man and his vision, and the miracle of the mushroom of course.

Phil Ross on mushrooms by Kirsty Allen

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