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Did you know Mechelen annually produces 4 tonnes of coffee grit, which is currently disposed of as residual waste?

After a preliminary study, they decided to use this waste instead of throwing it away. Mechelen has the ambition to become a circular city and wants to start a circular oyster mushroom nursery supported by various organisations, like Citamine. They challenged our Postgraduate team to make a bio-circular incubator at the Potterij in Mechelen, to accommodate the collection of coffee grit and growing oyster mushrooms. The goal is to build bridges between  citizens and local businesses as part of the circular plan the city wants to achieve.

Take a look at the design suggestions the students came up with!

Andrej, Lukas and Reinout from Mechelen Zwam’t designed the first project

With this project they tried to find an answer on how to create a mushroom nursery and integrate it in the city of Mechelen.

A modular nursery system was created with low budget hubs. The focus relied on the hubs to grow mushrooms. They created three different hubs for the different stages in growing mushrooms.

They have the mushroom bike integrated in this design, which is based on an existing cargo bike. This bike will collect the coffee grit from the coffee bars and the restaurants by emptying the little containers. The bike will also be used as a drop-off point, standing at the weekly market in Mechelen. People can drop-off their coffee grit and in return, they will get a stamp on their coupon given on the spot, with the 5th stamp they will get a discount to purchase a box of fresh mushrooms, cultivated at the nursery.

Amber, Alessia, Carol and Daria designed Mush Root,the second service system for a circular economy

Their vision for Mush Root is a space and a service that grows and sells mushrooms, while also creating space for education and collaboration in Mechelen. They will offer interactive workshops showing the growing process of the mushrooms and bike tours visiting the different hot spots involved in the circular plan.

Mush Root will sell mushrooms, grow kits, crisps and a monthly subscription box containing products from several local shops and organisations, also involved in a circular Mechelen.

The interior will consist of wood and metal to create an industrial but cozy feeling. Neon green was added as a pop of color. All the furniture is easily constructible, transportable and easy to clean due to the materials used.

Pjotr, Mira, Sevdenur and Trafara the third group in our design agency, came up with Mushrooms

Various organisations including Citamine and GLIMPS have decided to reuse coffee waste by starting a circular oyster mushroom which in turn aims to encourage bottom-up innovation in the city with a system that should be easily reproducible.  

With these goals, MushRoom was created to enable urban circular fungiculture. An opensource* platform that aims to collaborate with all different stakeholders in Mechelen. The idea is to help reduce waste and help the city become self-sufficient food producers. We designed 6 types of reproduceable rooms; the Nursery, the Community, the Members, the Shop, the Drop off Points and the Design studio ROOMs. 

*An open-source network is the practice of providing DIY knowledge of products or systems for free, so that the broader community can redistribute or remodify. Open source is to shared knowledge in the effort to help the community to create a product or system by themselves with their own skill set and the available materials 

Gilles Verset, Saar Vande Kerchhove and Sepide Mehralian are the designers of the fourth project, MushRooms

Mush rooms wants to involve people in a circular story. It starts by the collection of coffee grit from horeca for which we offer in exchange locally produced mushrooms. You can experience the story in ‘De Kwekerij’ where mush rooms is located. There you can get a glimpse of the plantation, organise meetings, workshops etc. This group closes the story by offering a culinary experience with our golden ticket. With this voucher, you can go to one of the restaurants or bars that is collaborating with us. This way you are connected to the horeca where our circular story started. Inspired? Take a closer look at mush rooms!

T Zit in Eigen Grond” is project designed by Kimberly Vonckx, Helder Rosa and Olivier Van Hamme

With ‘T Zit in Eigen Grond, they aimed at creating an Underground Network of mushroom growing farms, by reusing coffee waste, that is supported by artwork teasers and workshops. The cooperative business facilitates expansion to new partners, that would be able to support each other. The teasers and workshops are aimed at the curious citizens who want to stay active and learn new things. This way they would be reaching a wide public, from the most entrepreneurial to the learners and the curious.