Material Matters Highlights 2022

September 15, 2022

The Furniture Practice is proud to have partnered with Material Matters, a brand-new fixture on the London Design Festival circuit based on the critically acclaimed podcast of the same name. Here we bring you our top picks for the first instalment of this exciting new fair!

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With installations, a marketplace and an extensive talks programme, Material Matters brings together brands, designers, makers and organisations to raise awareness of the design industry’s most pressing issue: of sustainability and the role our material choices play in the world’s race to net zero.

Climate change has reached an undeniable level of urgency. Effective, sustainable change must happen now, and the design industry must commit to being part of it. Alongside the team at Material Matters, we can’t wait to celebrate some of the most exciting designers creating beautiful and innovative solutions to reconfigure how we use our planet’s resources - and what we put back out there.

Here, we highlight a few of our favourite exhibitors that you’ll be able to look forward to seeing at the fair. Each with a unique approach to addressing a unifying challenge, these companies are helping to lead the way in innovation in the material world.

Smile Plastics

The myth-busters

Champions of circularity, Smile Plasticsare here to shake up the negative associations we automatically make with plastic and its environmental impact, as well as the assumptions often made about the aesthetics of materials made from waste products. Smile Plastics’ beautiful, bright and colourful surface panels are solidly built and made to last while also being fully recyclable through local and buy-back schemes. Off-cuts from production never go to waste and are either reused to make new panels or offered to Smile Plastics’ customers for reclaim.

Fair Location: Material Design. Room 13.17

Solid Wool

Reviving a lost waste material

Solidwool’s story began with an ambition to revive the wool industry and find a new purpose for this natural by-product of sheep farming, which had seemingly lost its value. By totally reinventing its use, Solidwool has given completely new life to wool as the basis of a solid composite material - ‘think fiberglass, but with wool’. Visit Solidwool’s stand to discover the beauty and versatile design possibilities of this unique contribution to the material world, with a unique link to nature.

Fair Location: Furniture. Room 13.16

Nature Squared

A holistic approach

Nature Squared stands for sustainability across the environmental, economic and social agenda. Combining traditional craftsmanship with innovative technology, the ethical design brand creates surfaces out of waste materials, sourcing predominantly from industries such as farming and fishing, and never using endangered, protected or threatened resources. Their diverse offering caters to projects across the spectrum, from residences to cars and yachts. What’s most striking about this brand is its committed and thoroughly sustainable ethos, which includes supporting the heritage of craftspeople in underdeveloped countries and using advanced engineering and chemical expertise to produce products.

Fair Location: Material Design. Room 2.3


Champions of circular thinking

A new kid on the block and another one to watch as the value of circularity becomes more and more widely appreciated, Dutch company Circuformmakes no-nonsense, long-lasting furniture from recycled materials produced in a socially-responsible way. We love their relaunch of the REX Chair by Ineke Hans - a stylish, fun and fully recyclable option for a wide range of interiors. The chair has been produced with the lowest possible ecological impact, manufactured from recycled PA6 from office chair components, fishing nets, carpets, and industrial waste.

Fair Location: Furniture. Room 13.13


The unexpected

Alkesh Parmars material innovation will doubtless be one of the most surprising and fascinating on display. Following an MA at the Royal College of Art’s School of Materials, the multidisciplinary designer has developed a groundbreaking process of turning waste citrus peel into a solid, cork-like material with numerous uses. The end product is entirely biodegradable, meaning products that are disposed of can be put back to use in feeding the planet. Parmar’s research into reducing reliance on harmful binding agents sets him apart.

Fair Location: Lighting, Product, Material. Room 13.2

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Further to the exhibition space, be sure not to miss our top-pick talks with speakers from across the industry who are set to delve into some of the most crucial issues and debates in the material realm.

Life in Plastics

Thursday at 1:30pm

Speakers: Vlasta Kubušová, co-founder, crafting plastics! studio; Håkan Nordin, head of sustainability, Bolon; Emily Skinner, CEM and project manager, Smile Plastics

Chair: Riya Patel

Don’t miss this panel of sustainability and material experts as they discuss the potential of plastics for a new generation of designers.

Negroni Talks Presents: By the Seat of their Pants

Friday at 3pm

Speakers: Naomi Cleaver, designer, author and broadcaster; Nigel Coates, architect and designer; Adam Nathan Furman, artist and designer

Chair: Clare Dowdy

This discussion promises to be a lively one! Can one profession really cross over into the other? Enjoy a Negroni whilst they get to the bottom of it.

Material Futures

Friday at 1:30pm

Speakers: Sofia Hagen, co-founder, HagenHinderdael; Lay Koon Tan, co-founder Nature Squared; Caroline Till, co-founder FranklinTill; Andrew Waugh, co-founder Waugh Thistleton Architects

Chair: Bethan Ryder, executive editorial director, WGSN

What is the future of materials and how we use them? We’re looking forward to hearing this panel get to grips with what's to come in how materials will continue to shape our lives and what changes we can expect.

Materials Transition: What we need to reach net zero

Thursday at 6pm

Speakers: Phil Towle, Sustainability Manager, TFP; Lucy Bagshaw, Associate Director and Sustainable Designer at TP Bennett; Katie-May Boyd, CMF Strategist, Seymourpowell

Chair: Francesca Perry, London-based journalist and editor

Join The Furniture Practice as we host a panel discussion on what needs to change in our material selection process to make effective progress in the fight against climate change.

Check out the full Material Matters talks programme here:

We look forward to seeing you there! Be sure to check out The Furniture Practice’s full LDF Guide here.

Explore More

TFP London Design Festival Guide

LDF returns to the capital from 17-25 September - see our top picks of events, installations and open showrooms during the 9-day festival.

In Conversation With: Wickie Meier Engström

Wickie Meier Engström, Director and Partner of circular textile company Kvadrat Really, speaks to us about the importance of circularity as a sustainable approach to design manufacturing.