The Growing Pavilion

The next step is biobased


By Biobased Creations

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 we, Company New Heroes, together with the Dutch Design Foundation, started the experiment of building an iconic biobased pavilion, together with other pioneers in the field, for the Dutch Design Week 2019: The Growing Pavilion.

Through this project, we show 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. More than 75,000 people – industry professionals, governmental figures and organizations but also many “consumers” and regular daily visitors – visited the pavilion. We are currently discussing with various enthusiastic organizations, the option to rebuild The Growing Pavilion in other locations and to thus continue to inspire even more people towards biobased building and towards a circular economy.

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? We have documented and showcased our research process in different ways, aiming for full transparency. Amongst other things, a “Reasons why” animation film and an atlas of all materials used for The Growing Pavilion are available online (see below).

Materials atlas                                   

In our “Materials Atlas”, we share the collection of all materials found and used through our biobased design and building research. Through this, we want to show how far we can currently go, with the ambition to reach fully biobased creations. We have met many smart and conscious pioneers in the industry, who challenge the world of design and construction to take a new step; they can also be found in this atlas.

In addition to inspiring people and shedding light on the necessity of making this switch, we also make ourselves vulnerable through this atlas. We are literally and figuratively opening our book to the public, showcasing our long research in the world of biobased building. Our dream pavilion consists of even more innovative biobased options and materials. For now, good materials alone are not enough to make large-scale applications possible. Think about scaling up production; appropriate regulations; innovative designers and conscious consumers. With The Growing Pavilion and through this atlas, we put this conversation on the world’s agenda and facilitate it, as this is an essential step in order to achieve the desired change in thinking and acting.

We promote this power as identity. A new aesthetic that gives biobased materials their own beautiful identity. In addition to showing the beauty and power in the construction of the pavilion itself, we fill the interior of the pavilion with grown design objects. They show visitors of the pavilion how beautiful grown furniture, lamps, cupboards and other objects are.

Discover the Material Atlas

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. We 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?  We believe 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 Hoitink, Christien Meindertsma, Diana Scherer, Eric Klarenbeek, Martijn Straatman and HuisVeendam.

Growing Music Piece 

Jacqueline Hamelink developed and produced the Growing Music concept especially for DDW. 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 building 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. 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.

Landscape as Cult Exhibition

Our Biobased Creations team will present The Growing Pavilion at Landscape as Cult. A changing view on our nature– an exhibition that puts the people/landscape and culture/nature relationships into sharp focus. The stage for our actions us has always been the landscape around us, but have we almost outgrown this podium? Given the increasing awareness of our disastrous treatment of nature, are we still able – or willing – to feel connected to it? Or are we more inclined to attract the landscape towards us, or even to spend more time in nature?

This exhibition pits the Romantic experience of nature against the raw reality of cultivation. Landscape architecture is traditionally a historical analysis: a spatial design that strikes the right balance between ecology, biodiversity and culture. But what happens when instead of tackling the landscape horizontally you construct it vertically, from archaeology to satellite? What layers does it reveal and what meanings do we find embedded in the nature around us?

We hope to see you at the opening of Landscape as Cult. A changing view on our nature on Thursday 28 November, from 17:00 -19:00  at Bureau Europa, platform for architecture and design, with Pascal Leboucq and Company New Heroes.

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The Growing Pavilion is a project of Company New Heroes en Dutch Design Foundation.

Project credits

Design : Pascal Leboucq (Company New Heroes) Concept : Pascal Leboucq & Lucas De Man (Company New Heroes) & Eric Klarenbeek (Klarenbeek & Dros)

The team of The Growing Pavilion: Pascal Leboucq, Diana van Bokhoven, Emiel Rietvelt, Lucas De Man, Jasper van den Berg, Amber Bloos, Dona Popovici, Naomi Jansen, Anne Caesar van Wieren, Bente Konings, Wouter Goedheer, Bas van Rijnsoever, Isil Vos, Jip Verwiel

The Growing Pavilion is made possible by Stichting Doen, Brabant C, BPD cultuurfonds en Prins Bernhard Cultuur Fonds Beter Bouw Fonds.