Spiritualism, Craft and Waste is a series of projects realized by graduating students from the Product Design Department of Iceland Academy of the Art.

The collection originates from a study of the contemporary role of the designer. It is a redefinition and revitalization of modern values: instead of focusing solely on the making of commercial merchandise, designers should start to question the impact of their work on other living systems. It is vital to be aware of the transformation of matter from the origin to the end. Emphasis is put on the question why rather then how? This base is then reflected again and again in different points of contact with the various processes of design.

Sigurjón Axelsson‘s final project is inspired by the natural life cycle of fungus. Axelsson cultivates mycelium and developed a method which utilizes “mycelium mass” as a raw material.


Fungus serve an important purpose in nature. They deconstruct, complex materials such as leaves, from which they draw nutrients and in turn create enriched soil. Mycelium is fast growing and therefore dominant in soil. This attribute of the fungus is one of the fundamentals for most life cycles within nature.



Through added variety of natural compounds and production methods in creating new material at an industrial level, individuals and companies are offered a natural alternative. It is economically beneficial to utilize manufacturing byproducts to cultivate mycelium mass and each area or country can easily find a suitable byproduct to use in their local vicinity.


In Iceland for example, we can use barley, straw and/or sawdust. These resources serve as nourishment and building material for the mycelium mass, which becomes its own binding agent.



Mycelium mass is in this case used for packaging oyster mushrooms, thus meeting the need for environmentally friendly packaging solutions. The oyster mushrooms themselves grow from the same compost mix that are used to create their packaging. The mass prolongs the mushrooms life by protecting it until consumed. The fungi project was run in collaboration with Sælkerasveppir.inc


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This is our second edition of our yearly round-up of final projects by brand new designers graduating from the Iceland Academy of the Arts.

Course leaders: Garðar Eyjólfsson and Thomas Pausz
Images courtesy of the designer