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Material Matters at Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf | 18-21 September 2024

Material Matters fair returns with an array of exhibitors from globally recognised brands to emerging talent.

Material Matters returns to Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf from 18-21 September and promises to be one of the highlights of the London Design Festival 2024.

Mari Koppanen | Kaapa+

The fair, launched in 2022, has rapidly established itself as a fixture in the international design calendar and has attracted an array of talent for this year’s third edition. The event runs the gamut from globally recognised brands to emerging talent – the thread running through it all is an innate sense of material intelligence and the desire to make the world a slightly better place.

The Natural Materials Lab | Muddy Stools

This month also sees the launch of a new series of the Material Matters with Grant Gibson podcast. Since its inception in 2019, the show has secured more than 540,000 downloads from 132 different countries, making it one of the leading podcasts in its fifield. The new season starts with textile designer and artist Ptolemy Mann discussing her fascination with colour.

SAGES | Product Shot

Highlights and Features of the fair

Fibre Futures is an installation from BIOTEXFUTURE, an innovation space funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and ledby adidas AG and RWTH Aachen University. It will investigate material innovation in high-performance textiles, illustrating projects that aim to positively impact the textile value chain, including alternative resource streams, innovative spinning techniques, and bio-manufacturing.

Rosy Napper | ReCinder Lamp

Elsewhere, aluminium manufacturer (and Material Matters stalwart) Hydro  will present the 100R project, which asks seven internationally renowned designers – Inga Sempe, Max Lamb, Andreas Engesvik, Shane Schneck, Rachel Griffifin, John Tree and Philippe Malouin – to each create a product from Hydro CIRCAL 100R, the world’s fifirst aluminium made entirely from recycled post-consumer scrap on an industrial scale. And AHEC (the American Hardwood Export Council) will shine a light on American maple – a valuable yet underused hardwood – through Pirouette, a collection of extraordinary, flfluid furniture pieces, designed by Parti and made by Jan Hendzel Studio, that explore complex geometric forms.

Studio image of sculpture, grown from root and inspired by coral | sustainable design by Zena Holloway

Other features to look out for include: a project led by TP Bennett and The Furniture Practice set to showcase material stories of some of the UK’s leading furniture brands; multidisciplinary design practice PriestmanGoode is 2024’s design studio of the year, following on from LAYER and PearsonLloyd in past editions – its space in Bargehouse will show how materials shape the studio’s research, concept development and output; The Wood Awards exhibition, held once again at gallery@oxo adjacent to Bargehouse, will showcase the buildings, furniture and products shortlisted for the 2024 Wood Awards. It will feature exceptional wood-centric work from some of the best architects, designers, and makers in the UK.

Tŷ Syml | ALGÂU (Seaweed)


Several themes are already emerging from this year’s fair. Working with waste is part of Material Matters’ DNA; this year is no exception. Ferzom Ceramics, for instance, is a UK and EU-based design and research collective of ceramic designers and chemical and thermal engineers. It will be exhibiting a series of glazes made from 100 per cent waste materials. Likewise, the homeware by up-and-coming designer Rosy Napper is made from recycled ceramic and waste ash and includes a coffee table, lamps, and tableware.

SURU Carta | Image by Sergi Peguera, Manel Cano, Oriol Puchol and Paula Ibañez

Taiwanese firm FILIE Material has removed tons of car windshield waste from landfills and repurposed them into valuable materials through cutting-edge technology and a robust supply chain. At the fair, it will be showcasing a range of FILIE™ products – from leather alternative to foam, all created with recycled PVB fifilm from car windshields.

Alkesh Parmar returns to the fair with a new body of work, including lighting, objects, and artworks, derived from his research into locally sourced orange peel. Dutch company VivÈrdie Industries is also back to show how to repurpose textile waste into new materials.

Sofia Hagen & Studio Hempla

Material Matters also welcomes Spared® the Brighton-based creative services company that turns waste into beautiful objects and surface materials, spared from landfifill. Hempla is a debut collection, designed by Sofifia Hagen and Studio Marmi in partnership with Studio Waldemeyer, that brings together the latest in innovative 3D printing technologies and traditional craftsmanship to create seating made from organic hemp bound with recycled sugar cane, with integrated lighting programmed to follow the user’s circadian rhythm.

Alkesh Parmar | Peel Fabric Artwork, Orange Peels, 2023 | Photo creditStone Stuart

Another theme visitors should be able to spot is the design industry’s increasing interest in biomaterials. Mari Koppanen is a Finnish designer working at the intersection of design, material innovation, and art. Her project, Kääpä+, features amadou, a leather-like material derived from tinder mushrooms. Continuing the fungus thread, Mushlume Lighting is an award-winning, New York-based, biofabricated lighting collection that is grown from mycelium—the roots of mushrooms.

The fair will also feature lamps, jewellery, and fashion items made from roots by Rootfull; stools created from 3D printed earth soils, plant fifibers, and animal manure by The Natural Materials Lab, founded and directed by assistant professor Lola Ben-Alon of Columbia University; lights made from a collagen-based bioplastic recipe by Sabrina Merayo Nuñez, an Argentine multidisciplinary artist based in New York; and products fashioned from seaweed and mycelium from Welsh design studio Tŷ Syml.

Studio Sanne Visser | Extended Mirror Series

In among all this innovation, it’s important that there’s still room for exquisitely-made products that make full use of more traditional materials. Modet is a furniture brand founded by Irish designer Paul O’Brien in 2017, which works predominantly in wood. It will be showing new designs – including the Langford lounge chair, a contemporary take on a mid-century classic – and established pieces, as well as experimenting with some different materials, such as stone, leather and bronze.

‘It’s shaping up to be a fascinating year,’ say Material Matters co-founders William Knight and Grant Gibson. ‘We have a huge variety of exhibitors working in a panoply of different materials, some traditional, others rather more experimental. The important thing about the fair is that it contains designers creating new ideas that have barely been seen alongside major manufacturers working at scale to bring products to market. It’s fascinating to watch how everyone inflfluences each other.’

Material Matters Fair, an official trade event within the London Design Festival, will take place at:

Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, London SE1 9PH

Open: Wednesday 18 – Saturday 21 September 2024

Opening hours: 10am-6pm

Trade tickets free with advance registration

www.materialmatters.design | @materialmatters.design

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