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The Growing Pavilion

13 Nov 2019

Social challenges such as climate change, subsidence, CO2 emissions and the scarcity of fossil fuels require new, sustainable solutions. The call for a more biobased and circular economy is becoming increasingly necessary. That is why Company New Heroes started the experiment of building an iconic biobased pavilion, together with Dutch design Foundation and other pioneers in the field: The Growing Pavilion.

Through this project, designer Pascal Leboucq of Company New Heroes, shows the possibilities and above all the outstanding beauty of biobased construction and design. The uniqueness of the pavilion consists in the large number of biobased materials used- such as wood, hemp, mycelium, cattail and cotton, put together in order to form a building like never seen before.

The Growing Pavilion could be visited for ten days in the beating heart of Dutch Design Week 2019. More than 75,000 people – industry professionals, governmental figures and organizations but also many “consumers” and regular daily visitors – visited the pavilion.

The Growing Pavilion is built by Fiction Factory, Tentech, Buitink Technology. In collaboration with: Primum, HuisVeendam, ECO-board,, Braindrop BV, Impershield, Houthandel Looijmans, TenCate Outdoor Fabrics, Botanic Bites, BioBased Delta, Centre of Expertise Biobased Economy (CoE BBE), Natuurvezel Applicatie Centrum (NAC), Sounding Bodies, Juro Coating, Noorderwind, Floriade Almere 2022.

2 years of research

As with every project of Company New Heroes, The Growing Pavilion was built on many years of research. Which biobased materials are suitable for this iconic structure? What is the aesthetic value of biobased materials? Also: why is it necessary to make the transition to a biobased economy? they have documented and showcased the research process in different ways, aiming for full transparency. Amongst other things, a “Reasons why” animation film, the making of movie and an atlas of all materials used for The Growing Pavilion are available online


The beauty of biobased materials

The Growing Pavilion is an ode to the beauty and power of biobased materials. Most biobased materials are still too often perceived as just an equally good-looking and environmentally-friendly alternative to conventional materials. They find this as a weakness: why aren’t biobased materials also seen as better, smarter, more original, healthier and more beautiful alternatives to what we already know?  Believing that new designs and applications of those materials are required, as well as their own, recognizable and acknowledged identity.

Designer Pascal Leboucq: “With every biobased material that we used for the pavilion, we show the natural raw material as much as possible. This way, the pavilion ended up having a unique, organic texture and colour. A good example is the way in which we used mycelium for the walls of the pavilion. The stains and the natural growing texture of the mycelium is beautiful- forming a kind of organic skin instead of an evenly white wall. ”

The Growing Pavilion promotes a new aesthetic that gives biobased materials a unique and beautiful identity. This is also reinforced through the exhibition of biobased designs and creations that could be found inside the pavilion during DDW. We exhibited unique pieces by Aniela HoitinkChristien MeindertsmaDiana SchererEric KlarenbeekMartijn Straatman and HuisVeendam.

Why biobased

The need for a Biobased Economy becomes increasingly stronger. The use of biological or grown, instead of fossil materials, is an important solution for reducing plastic (waste), preventing subsidence, capturing CO2 and reusing waste from agriculture. “At this moment 95% of the worlds energy comes from fossil fuels which caused the output of CO2 to increase immensely over the last 100 years and to be exhausted soon. Per day the world population uses as much petroleum as the world can ‘produce’ in 1000 years. They have to find an alternative or society will see a fast and huge fall back,” so explains CoEBBE (2019). The world of the built environment can also not be left behind. Governments and consumers set stricter requirements for building materials and governments increasingly make sure that the polluter pays. This makes many conventional building materials more expensive, which is both a necessity and an opportunity for biobased building materials.


Program during DDW 2019
During the Dutch Design Week 2019  Company New Heroes’ storytellers were present at The Growing Pavilion to bring the pavilion alive. Visitors could also inform their selves through information signs, videos and the material atlas and/or hear more during one of our tours.

Growing Music Piece 
Jacqueline Hamelink developed and produced the Growing Music concept especially for DDW 2019. Every morning between 11.00 and 11.30 a live concert took place in the pavilion with music from J.S. Bach. Natural sounds and improvisations from various musicians were progressively added, eventually buzlding a soundscape that was always played during the day inside the pavilion and which can be listened to here.

The musicians who contributed to the soundscape are Laurens de Man (kistorgel), Goska Isphording (harpsichord), Eilidh Martin (cello), Diederik van Wassenaer (violin), Vincent van Amsterdam (accordion), Maximiliano Ciaffi (piano) and Jacqueline Hamelink (cello); and new music improvised by Stevko Busch (jazz pianist) on the 24th of October. The sound designers who brought the soundscape to life are Aart Strootman and Richard van Kruysdijk.

Mushroom harvesting and tasting 
In order to reinforce the story of The Growing Pavilion, we organized a daily harvesting moment of oyster mushrooms during the DDW 2019. Because edible mushrooms can grow from mycelium. The harvesting moment was always an exciting and busy time of the day, giving our team the opportunity to share our story with even more people. And it gave the crowds the opportunity to take a bite from The Growing Pavilion. Many happy visitors took mushroom bags at home for a tasty dinner. The visitors who immediately wanted to taste the mushrooms were sent to the BotanicBites food truck for a Zwarma sandwich.