Maurizio Montalti

For his graduation in 2010 Maurizio Montalti investigated new ways of using organic material to cause a more sustainable decay of human bodies. “Physical decay and physical death are natural processes, without which there could be no new life. Traditional existentialism focuses on how people make sense of life in the shadow of death. Aiming to question such attitude, ‘Bodies of Change’ researches the realm of fungi and their fundamental importance with regard to decomposition and transformation of organic substrates and the resultant cycling of elements.” For his experiments he collaborated with mycology scientists from the University of Utrecht, which enabled him to create a bridge between scientific insights and design.”

The design consisted of a felt shroud inoculated with fungal mycelia from the species Schizophyllum commune and some visionary scenario’s for the future use of fungi to fight the general attitude of denial. “Most of the traditional burial practices tend to enhance such denial, aside from harming the environment and wasting energy. The shroud’s action enhances the decomposition process of the body, while collecting and neutralizing toxic elements stored within the organism and distributing the different nutrient supply harvested from the body.

After his graduation, Montalti continued to collaborate with other researchers from various fields, exploring material culture, aiming at creating new opportunities and visions both for the (creative) industry and for the broader social spectrum. A fascination for the micro-scale, together with a holistic vision of the world as a macro-organism, is his mail drive as a designer. The design process and the subsequent materialisation of concepts by his office, Officina Corpuscoli, are often used as tools and strategies for questioning culture, critically and constructively addressing the design field, as well as targeting the industry.

Besides the various activities and projects at OC, Maurizio is the co-founder of MOGU S.r.l. , a company focused on industrial scale-up of mycelium based materials, services and products and he is also highly involved in education. He co-headed the MAD Master (Materialisation in Art and Design) at Sandberg Instituut, and he teaches at various academies and universities, both in The Netherlands and abroad. Additionally, Maurizio is co-founder of the Amsterdam based WNDRLUST collective.

Currently Maurizio Montalti is one of the researchers of the DAE readership, focused on the research of Mycelium-based materials for product design.

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Graduation project, 2010