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From Art To Bioengineering

How MycoWorks’ Creative Heritage Guides Its Growth

It looks like a piece of fine leather. You pick it up and run your fingers over its glossy and pebbled surface. You bend it back and forth. You gently rub it between your thumb and forefinger. Then you lift it to your nose and inhale. It smells clean, faintly sweet—a scent that’s hard to place.

You can’t pin it down because this is a new material. It’s Reishi™, a leather alternative made from the mycelium.

It’s also the first commercial product of MycoWorks, a California-based biomaterials company founded not by scientists or engineers but by two artists, Phil Ross and Sophia Wang. Since 2013, when they incorporated MycoWorks, this improbable duo of sculptor and dancer/poet have grown the tiniest spore of an idea into a company that’s now at the forefront of a potentially billion-dollar industry.

“We value the aesthetic rigor of making something beautiful, making something that performs well, making something that is an object of desire.” – Sophia Wang, MycoWorks Co-Founder and Chief of Culture

“For me, there’s an element to art where whimsy and magic and mystery can still speak to the world of what is pragmatic and functional. It’s just that you have to be willing to go on that leap of imagination and find the path from the mystery to the known. That’s the path of MycoWorks.” – Sophia Wang

Read the full article by Benjamin Wolff on FORBES.