Skip to main content
Experimental Design

Vivee Barengo

Vivee Barengo is an Italian London based interdisciplinary creative specialised in Experience Design and Art Direction. Her work focuses on speculative designs that investigate alternative futures while promoting critical reflection on the current state of things. 

Vivee’s diverse background allows her to approach each project from multiple perspectives. After completing with honours a BA in Fashion Styling and Art Direction, while also obtaining diplomas in Fashion Design and Art History, in 2019 she started a new creative journey at RCA in the Graduate Diploma programme. Here, she started a new journey as a designer developing original ways to share ideas and research through interactive installations. Such experience led her to IED and to the Experimental Design pathway where, for the last year and a half, she has been growing as a creative, cultivating her passion for research-based projects and innovative ways of communication. 

Currently, Vivee is developing cutting-edge sustainable methods of production to build future architectural models using mycelium and robotics in self-sustaining ecosystems.

Vivee is also a part-time teacher of Art & Design to kids aged 16-19, a job full of gratifying moments and a window of constant inspiration. Aside from the independent work, in 2019 she co-founded with Jade Removille the design studio Revele (RVL), currently working on commissioned installations and sculptural work.


IED hotline extension number #202

To leave a comment or say anything nice about my work, please dial the free IED hotline number 020 39831592 or overseas +(44)2039831592. International calls cost subject to your operators fees.

The Myco Bodhi started in December 2020 as an exploration of mycelium consciousness and how this might be applied to future sustainable architecture projects. The core idea of the subsequent speculations was that we could eventually create a world where plants, or fungi, in this case, would not only coexist with our most advanced technologies but thrive on each other in a self-sustaining ecosystem.

Inspired by the Flora Robotica project (EU-Horizon 2020 Future and Emerging Technologies Proactive Action), this project is as much of a speculative design as it is a research one. The aim was to propose a possible future scenario, contributing to the existing creative research, and to spike further inputs/outputs from others working towards a similar goal. Thus promoting a conversation around our allocation of resources as a society. Where shall we focus on while building more circular economies that can survive through time in harmony with the habitats surrounding them? But mostly, what can we learn from the mycelium network as a living organism?

Fungi’s resilience and cooperation throughout the planet are astonishing traits that certainly any species could benefit from adopting. The mycelium network is therefore the key to this design as it would allow us to utilise its consciousness to understand in real-time the living conditions of our surroundings. In theory, the mycelium and the robots would act as one supervising agent: gathering the data from the soil and air and, through an electrical circuit, sharing it with humans on monitors in a clear display. 

The final structure proposed is a futuristic greenhouse made of tubular hexagons, each containing mycelium and wires to allow for the data transfer. The modular aspect of the design assures its circularity: once the mycelium in a tube dies it can easily be emptied in the garden as fertiliser and refilled with new substrate. Thus allowing for multiple applications of the same structure in different case scenarios and scales, from a large outdoor garden to a panelled wall in someone’s home.


From Chapter 1 of "The Myco Bodhi" (2021)


IED Physical Show BEEP BEEP - The End of The End of The World from 23/07 to 25/07 at Menier Gallery. More info at https://www.rca.ac.uk/news-and-events/events/beep-beep-end-end-world-ied-experience/

final structure / 1
final structure / 2
final structure / 3
final structure / 4
final structure / 5
final structure / 6
final structure / 7

The purpose of the model structure presented is to create a tangible image of this speculative reality, allowing the viewer to picture themselves in the shoes of the human figures of this world-building example. This structure is made of modular hexagonal components, each one containing mycelium and wiring connections to enable data transmission. The mycelium is supposed to sense the condition of its surroundings and share real-time readings with the supervising agent (ie. humans). 

The simplicity of the structure is directly linked to its theoretical versatility. It should not be constrained by size or site-specificity, as it can be replicated to fit anything from a large forest to an indoor wall. Also, each hexagon is made of removable pipes that can vary in size and are easy to remove and replace when needed. The structure could either be 3D printed in a variety of sustainable filaments or crafted from scrap materials or even using natural components like bamboo.

Medium:

3D printed eco resin / mix media
mycelium / 1
mycelium / 2
mycelium / 3
mycelium / 4
mycelium / 5
mycelium / 6
mycelium / 7

These images present the fungi and the mycelium cultivated between February and May 2021 and the experiments made with large scale pipes. The white parts are the mycelium and while not all mushrooms have developed at the same rate or scale, each inoculated substrate clearly shows signs of growth and mycelium formation. Different fungi species were used for this study of the biomaterial, to test their different responses. The environmental conditions in which they grew was consistent throughout, although not with the same quality standards that would have only been possible in a laboratory. If this project was to be developed further, it would certainly need that level of sterilisation and confinement. 

The species used were: Pleurotus Ostreatus (also known as Oyster mushrooms), Ganoderma Lingzhi (Reishi mushrooms), Pleurotus Djamor (Pink Oyster mushrooms), Cordyceps Militaris, Panellus Stipticus (Glowing mushrooms), Omphalotus Nidiformis (Ghost mushrooms) and Pestalotiopsis Microspora. The fungi from the Pleurotus family showed substantial greater growth and, given the not ideal environmental circumstances, they would be the best candidate moving forward -although a mixture of different species should not be excluded.


Medium:

mycelium / spores / substrates / fungi / PVC pipes
renderings / 1
renderings / 2
renderings / 3
renderings / 4
renderings / 5
renderings / 6
renderings / 7

These images are dedicated to a series of renderings depicting the final visual outcome of the structure and its potential implementations. All the pictures have been created using different softwares: Sketchup, Rhino 3D, and Keyshot for the final renders, among other resources. These images were constructed before the final assembly of the physical 3D model and are as close as possible to a realistic construction of the structure. This could be a physical installation tomorrow, set up as an example of sustainable futuristic architecture and enjoyable for the audience strolling by, or a common reality in every neighbourhood 100 years from now on Earth or perhaps even on Mars.  

The renderings were left without a background on purpose to allow the viewer’s imagination wonder at this stage of the ideation process. Programming their actual construction will require serious consideration of the most adequate site. While the vegetation could appear unrealistic both in these images and in the physical model, it was once again a considered choice to encourage the idea that this mode of sustainable building and the extensive monitoring of an environment using mycelium would boost the natural growth of any vegetation thus increasing the quality of life of its hosting ecosystem.

Medium:

digital files
design development / 1
design development / 2
design development / 3
design development / 4
design development / 5
design development / 6
design development / 7

This section focuses on the initial digital representations of the project using a variety of softwares and graphic applications. Some were made by drawing on a tablet, while others include programmes such as Sketchup, Keyshot, and Rhino 3D. Their purpose is to show the development of the idea as well as its aesthetic ingredients leading to the final outcome.

Some images depict more artistic renders of the design and they are not to be intended as realistic drawings as they focus on the more invisible power of the structure. For example, rays passing through a model are metaphors for the mycelium reach, the vastness of its network and the energy that it can convey. Other images focus instead on the modular aspects of the design and the technical specifications required for 3D printing, created in collaboration with TAD Studio (London). As already specified, these are just indicative as the pieces can be printed in different sizes and by keeping the proportions intact they would still form successfully a joint cage.

Medium:

digital / mixed media / eco resin
research / 1
research / 2
research / 3
research / 4
research / 5
research / 6
research / 7

Here are images of the research map that contains the majority of references used to create this project. The map is accessible through the link or by scanning the QR code. Viewers are invited to visit the webpage and navigate the map at their own pace. There were obviously more influences and knowledge acquired thanks to the many kind experts who agreed to collaborate and share their expertises for this design proposal. Their names can be found in the Acknowledgements section of the book. "The Myco Bodhi" (2021) is also available for viewing in its entirety through the other QR code and it can be ordered as a printed copy by contacting the designer directly.

feedback / 1

IED hotline extension number #202

To leave a comment or say anything nice about my work, please dial the free IED hotline number 020 39831592 or overseas +(44)2039831592. International calls cost subject to your operators fees.