For those who don’t know, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your business?
We are Jeff Betts and Kenny Lush from Ecovative, a biomaterials company in Green Island where they design products and work with other companies to design solutions using Mushroom® Materials.
How did you get into your business?
We both graduated a few years apart from the RPI School of Architecture, with strong backgrounds in fabrication. Ecovative attracted them for a few reasons, the top two being that it’s local, which enabled them to continue living in Troy, and it’s a unique company with a lot of opportunity to follow projects from prototyping to production.
What would you say are your main influences when constructing a design?
Function, performance, and sustainability are all important factors for us.
Which comes first, the materials or the design idea?
Mushroom® Materials! When we are contacted by companies and or people interested in working with us, they usually have a product or idea in mind and our job is to work on integrating our material technology into the design. That could be by simply displacing existing materials like particleboard or plastics, or coming up with new approaches to the design that leverages our unique material characteristics.
Did you have a design mentor?
We both were influenced by local Artist and Architecture Professor Michael Oatman. He was fundamental in getting us to think about where we might be able to succeed outside of our field of study.
What part of the process excites you the most?
You learn something new every time during the process and fabrication stages, but nothing is better than standing back and looking at a finished piece of work, and watching people interact with it or use it.
What do you think makes you unique and different from other designers?
We have the opportunity to work with a unique material, not currently available anywhere else in the world.
What does community mean to you?
Community is a strong value at Ecovative. Most of us call Troy home, and are connected to the local community through out of work activities and groups we are a part of.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
We are so excited to see the Troy Innovation Garage open!