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Brief Published: 28 Aug 2019

LDF Crowns Biomaterials as Material of the Year

High Society

Sustainable thinking is driving designers to seek out new alternatives for our material future. Bio-based materials made from naturally abundant resources hold huge potential. In acknowledgment, the London Design Fair is spotlighting biomaterials by crowning them Material of the Year.

Now in its third year, the fair’s Material of the Year showcase aims to highlight and scrutinise key materials in today’s design world. Last year the title went to Plastic, in an effort to raise awareness around how we can produce, consume and recycle the condemned material in more favourable and imaginative ways.

This year’s show, entitled Second Yield, focuses on the versatility of bio-based resources and materials. Such materials are often derived and made from by-products of the agricultural industry, and while production and implementation is complex and lengthy, they can provide a positive contribution to both design and the environment.

On display will be the work of the following four pioneering designers, who are transforming different waste streams into sustainable and functional materials and design products: 

  • London-based Mexican designer Fernando Laposse uses corn husks to produce a veneer that can be used for marquetry and tiling.
  • UK start-up Chip[s]Board transforms discarded industrial potato waste into innovative circular materials, including its bioplastic Parblex.
  • Dutch studio Tjeerd Veenhoven repurposes fallen palm tree leaves into its leather alternative, Palm Leather.
  • Italian studio High Society compresses post-industrial waste with bio-based binder to create composite materials for its lighting range. The waste includes hemp leftovers, pomace (residue left after wine production) and discarded leaves and stalks from tobacco cultivation.

Material of the Year: Second Yield will run from September 19-22. Look out for our London Design Festival coverage next month. For more on the latest in biodesign, including biomaterials, see Biodesign: From Concept to Commercial Reality.

Fernando Laposse
Tjeerd Veenhoven
High Society