Formidable Fungi: Part 2

11 February 2020

The brief given by Somerset House: to create an installation to celebrate the marvellous mushroom for their exhibition Mushrooms: The art, design and future of fungi.

Inspired by the contribution the mushroom makes to ecosystems via their mycelia, LFS and our students created an installation that represented the underground network of thin threads that connect plant material and fungus.

Our mixed media installation commissioned by Alter-Projects combined traditional craftsmanship such as weaving with floristry techniques. At the core of this architectural project was our desire to push boundaries in floristry, and to challenge the traditional notions of the discipline.

Bringing this dynamic concept to life required an understanding of the limitations of the space; the materials to be used and the time frame that the installation would be in situ.

We used mitsumata branches to emulate the mycelium. Traditionally used to make Japanese paper, mitsumata is soft to the touch, malleable and dense and is a natural creamy colour. When immersed in water, mitsumata becomes pliable and therefore was the perfect material to weave together to create the frame for SPROUT.

Dried material such as dried sponge mushroom and bleached palm rind were added to the frame, alongside Spring bulb plants such as narcissus; muscari; tulip and crocus. The 'pièce de résistance' of the structure, however, were clusters of LFS grown mushrooms that had been lovingly cultivated in the school.

Often viewed as the small, ugly cousins of the plant kingdom, these surprisingly beautiful and wonderful organisms were a world waiting to be explored by us at LFS and because it is our desire at London Flower School to encourage our students to find inspiration beyond the world of flowers, SPROUT took shape.

The marvellous mushroom will continue to be celebrated in Mushrooms: The art, design and future of fungi until 26 April 2020 at Somerset House, London.

Photography by Felix Speller.