Design and Material Innovation Shine

The doors of Material Matters 2023 have closed. The four-day event, run from 18-21 September at Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, as part of the London Design Festival that founded by William Knight and Grant Gibson welcomed 6,000 registered visitors to there. They discovered a plethora of products, installations and ideas, as well as a rich programme of talks.

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Material Matters 2023 Photo: Sophie Mutevelian

Installations included Planted from Danish textile designer Tanja Kirst, which asked the simple question: can oranges, seaweed and hemp be transformed into textiles without compromising aesthetics? Meanwhile, the fair’s Designer of the Year was Pearson Lloyd. Its installation looked at its material choices in a fistful of recent projects and the increased importance of circularity in its work. Clients featured included Howe, Modus, City of Bath, Batch.Works, TAKT, Profim, and Senator.

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Material Matters 2023 Photos: Sophie Mutevelian

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Material Matters 2023 Photos: Sophie Mutevelian

Modern Synthesis launched Bou Bag, a new handbag made of bacterial nanocellulose with Danish fashion brand Ganni and crafting plastics! studio returned with an environmentally-active installation that detected potentially harmful UV rays created in collaboration with DumoLab Research.

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Material Matters 2023 Photos: Sophie Mutevelian

On the third floor, Isola, the Milan-based design platform, hosted a new exhibition, Nothing Happens if Nothing Happens, which featured emerging designers using regenerative resources and repurposing waste materials. Designers working with waste was a significant theme again this year.

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Isola exhibition at Material Matters 2023 ©Isola photo by Anwyn Howarth

On the top floor, for example, BC Joshua showed a seat (created with designer Ella Doran) made from a newspaper pulp blend. HagenHinderdael and Novavita Design joined forces to develop a product collection made from coffee waste, milk packaging, and fermented sugar. Planq launched Rezign® materials – a collection of materials made from textile waste, such as post-consumer denim, army clothing, suits and white denim. Yair Neuman had lighting pieces made from disused spectacle lenses. The Tyre Collection displayed how it has developed a system for collecting rubber particles from tyre wear and transforming them into products.

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Material Matters 2023 Photos: Sophie Mutevelian and Max Colson

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Material Matters 2023 Photos: Sophie Mutevelian and Max Colson

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Material Matters 2023 Photos: Sophie Mutevelian and Max Colson

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Material Matters 2023 Photos: Sophie Mutevelian and Max Colson

Meanwhile, others worked with nature. BioMATTERS showed vessels 3D printed from mycelium; Silklab displayed the potential of silk fibroin; and Material Magic had furniture and lighting fashioned from hemp with magnesium and potato starch. The Wood Awards unveiled its shortlist for this year’s prizes in a beautifully designed exhibition. That potent brew of ideas, materials and products was topped off by a talks programme that took a deeper dive into our material culture.

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L to R Talks space and Isola exhibition at Material Matters 2023 Photo: Sophie Mutevelian

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L to R Talks space and Isola exhibition at Material Matters 2023 Photo: Sophie Mutevelian

Material Matters Fair

After a hugely successful inaugural edition, Material Matters returned in 2023. Based on the critically acclaimed podcast of the same name, the fair brings together over 40 world-leading brands, designers, makers, manufacturers and organisations to celebrate the importance of materials and their ability to shape our lives.


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