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WORTH Partnership Project

Amadou- Harvesting the Future

Repurposing culturally significant materials for future use

Amadou- Harvesting the Future

The message of the project

The project proposes future uses for culturally significant materials. It is an ethical approach to material innovation: via tradition. Amadou is a material in and of itself. Not only because of its performing abilities, but also because of its cultural and historical significance. Amadou is the mother of all fungi. It has been used for thousands of years for many medicinal and spiritual objectives. It was even carried by Ötzi, the Iceman.

The idea behind the project

The collaboration began in 2019 when Mari was working on her master's project. She contacted Zoltan and flew to Corund, Romania to learn more about amadou, a suede-like material derived from the polypore fungus Fomes fomentarius (eng. Tinder mushroom). It is a folklore handicraft material in Eastern Transylvania, where it is used to make tiny objects such as hats and bags. The material is completely natural, vegan, and anti-inflammatory. Above all, it is a mushroom. The amadou craft tradition is at risk of extinction as the number of households practising it has declined significantly over the last several decades. Mari’s goal soon became to capture and learn about the skill of mushroom processing from the local craftspeople. Since then, they have both worked on improving the material's properties and appearance based on their respective backgrounds: Mari as a designer, and Zoltan as a craftsman and marketer of traditional amadou items.

Preparation seems to be simple, yet it needs a great deal of practice and expertise. The goal  is to encourage more people to learn about mushroom processing and the history of this unique trade. The material's potential will be expressed through bold design elements that highlight the features of amadou. The objective is to also engage with a variety of client segments, including private people and businesses, in this manner.

Amadou- Harvesting the Future

What next?

This collaboration seeks to identify new methods to use amadou and help to preserve the endangered heritage of amadou handicrafts via inventive experimenting with the material. The partnership combines high-level Finnish design practice with a groundbreaking traditional material heritage in Romania.

The project emphasises New European Bauhaus' three main values: inclusion, innovation, and sustainability. It delivers a material that is responsible (both environmentally and economically), renewable, and adaptive. It combines cutting-edge design with a novel, long-lasting folkloric material. It accomplishes what designers are supposed to do: it creates projects that are relevant in relation to the surrounding environment and culture. There, they are discussing not only sustainability but also an ethical approach to design practice.

It is important to develop alternative materials to reduce the environmental damage they cause. Plastic and leather are the primary contributors to many environmental issues. Amadou-based products are renewable, all-natural, and biodegradable leather-like materials. Amadou is not intended for mass manufacturing, but rather to be observed with greater sensitivity. It has no toxic or plastic-based binders or coatings, unlike lab-grown fungal material equivalents; it is just a natural creation.

Amadou- Harvesting the Future
Projects Edition
  • WORTH Partnership Projects II
Project Call
  • 1st Call Projects
Project Sector
  • Textile - Fashion
Project Challenge
  • New European Bauhaus



Mari Koppanen


Zoltan Pal