Dutch Design Week: Spore Vase by Paulo Sellmayer

Paulo Sellmeyer preparing teh growth medium for Spore Vase

Paulo Sellmayer preparing the growth medium for Spore Vase

We first saw Spore Vase by Paulo Sellmayer at Made out Portugal on Dutch Design Week Sunday, and it didn’t leave us in peace the whole day.

And so we went back on the Monday morning and spoke to Paulo.

Born in Oberhausen, Germany Paul studied Industrial Design at ESAD in Caldas da Rainha, Portugal and is currently on an internship with Julien Carretero in Eindhoven, Holland.

So just the sort of cosmopolitan pedigree we like.

Spore vase is – in short – a vase in which fungi grow.

A hole in the top of the glass vase allows airborne microbes to enter, the selective media inhibits bacterial growth and so only the fungi grow.

As such Spore Vase provides a wonderful, living, survey of the fungal spores that surround us.

Spore Vase fascinates us on several levels.

On the one hand fungi are flowers – or at least they were classified as such when we were at university. It is possible they are no longer plants – biologists liking nothing more than re-naming and re-classifying organisms – but for us they remain plants.

Spore Vase by Paulo Sellmayer @ Made Out Portugal, Eindhoven

And just as some animals are perceived as cuddly, cute, lovable and others as being scary and ugly – so to is our perception of flowers based on innate preconceptions about “good” and “bad” or “clean” and “dirty”

Yet as anyone who has ever left a pot of rice standing for 10 days knows – fungi can add a wonderful touch of colour to any room.

And the numerous forms being every bit as interesting and aesthetic as those of the angiosperms.

Then there is the principle focus of Spore Vase – a commentary on our modern obsession with sterility.

The (smow)blog team belong to those generations that ate worms, licked cows and generally spent our childhood encased in dust, mud and grime.

Today cleanliness is a virtue cherished above all others and for every form of uncleanness, either real or imagined, there exists an industrial solution.

Our world of course isn’t sterile and Spore Vase demonstrates that beautifully.

The idea for Spore Vase began when Paulo was on an overseas semester at Bolzano in Italy, which is also where he brushed up on his mycology.

As a project Spore Vase is still in development and we’re looking forward to seeing where Paulo takes it.

In addition Paulo is also currently working on further microbiological projects.

We saw one of the projects at the Atelierdorp Gets Closer showcase, and although the exhibit wasn’t fully “ripe” – and we use the word deliberately –  when the project is further developed it definitely has the potential to be every bit as good as Spore Vase.

Spore Vase by Paulo Sellmeyer @ Made Out Portugal, Eindhoven

Spore Vase by Paulo Sellmayer @ Made Out Portugal, Eindhoven

... detail ... The white funfi on the central pedastal is expecialyl attractive

... detail ... We especially like the white growth on the central pedestal.

In many ways a terrarium for mycophiles....

In many ways a terrarium for mycophiles....

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