at 3daysofdesign, mater exhibits furniture made of waste and plastic to survey recycling state


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Dec 31, 2023

at 3daysofdesign, mater exhibits furniture made of waste and plastic to survey recycling state

Design festival 3daysofdesign runs between June 7th and 9th, 2023, and

Design festival 3daysofdesign runs between June 7th and 9th, 2023, and green-tech design brand Mater looks into the state of recycling by exhibiting furniture that offers tangible means to repurpose discarded waste and objects. In a 2022 study published by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (more about that here), only nine percent of plastic waste around the world is being recycled while 22 percent is being mismanaged and the rest ends up in landfill, incinerated, or littered into the environment.

For instance, there was a 2.2 percent decrease in plastic pollution during the period of Covid-19, but a spike in littering due to throwing out food takeaway packaging and plastic medical equipment like masks. While there are bans and taxes on single-use plastics in more than 120 countries, these are not enough to reduce overall plastic waste and debris. Still, some take the matter into their own hand to reduce plastic waste.

One of them is the green-tech design brand Mater whose technology and material named Matek mixes coffee shell fibers, beer kegs, bike parts, and sawdust with plastic waste and granulates to produce its own sturdy chairs, tables, and other furniture. In its exhibition ‘What A Waste!’ at 3DaysOfDesign in Copenhagen – which runs from June 7th to 10th, 2023 – Mater dives into the state of recycling by showcasing its own furniture collection made of plastic waste, a tangible overview of what could be done if discarded objects are recycled wisely.

images courtesy of Mater

Staged in the historic Helligåndshuset (House of the Holy Ghost) in Copenhagen for 3daysofdesign, the exhibition ‘What a Waste!’ by Mater spotlights excessive material consumption and the urgent need for recycling by showcasing its own furniture collection that incorporates discarded materials and objects found in surroundings. Walking through the space, transparent boxes are filled with pulverized waste ingredients used in producing the furniture such as sawdust, shell waste, industrial plastic, shredded electrical equipment, and frayed appliances.

It is also a time for Mater to introduce its material Matek to the visitors. For its technology, Mater combines fiber with a binder to produce its chairs and tables such as mixing coffee beans shells and sawdust with plastic granulates to devise an ideal material for press molding. Mater says that it collaborates with large-scale corporations who may not know what to do with their discarded products to use more post-consumer items in the design process rather than simply buying materials off the market.

By using all these thrown-out objects and giving them new forms through furniture, it is possible to bump up the percentage of scraps being properly recycled while highlighting functional design in the process.

inside ‘What a Waste! exhibition by Mater in Copenhagen for 3daysofdesign

Even before the exhibition ‘What a Waste!’ in Copenhagen, Mater has already put its recycling techniques in use with other materials, products, and collaborations. In 2019, the design brand resurrected one of the classic wood veneer designs by Nanna and Jørgen Ditzel by upcycling fishing nets and ocean plastic waste into a series of outdoor furniture. The camping-like collection of seats and tables named ‘Ocean Collection’ was the first time the design brand employed fishing nets and plastic waste to create furniture. Here, they expanded their experiment with repurposing plastic waste in the following years.

2021 came, and Mater tapped the Danish brewing company Carlsberg to recycle its discarded plastic beer kegs, a key component of the specialized ‘DraughtMaster’ keg deposit system that the brewery introduced to its customers in 2019. Named ‘OC2’, the resulting table, benches, and chairs underwent the process of granulating, cleaning, and pelleting with the help of the upcycling company a:gain. Together, the design team developed plastic that was easily used for casting the slats of the collection.

Aside from the collection, Mater has also worked with design company Space Copenhagen for Eternity Swivel, a collection of chairs made of discarded coffee bean waste from the coffee roasting process of Danish BKI Coffee and upholstered with upcycled textiles from Kvadrat. Coming from a series of recycling experiences, Mater continues to move forward with Matek and its upcycling ethos as seen in its recent exhibition, encouraging a wider audience to rethink how they discard their waste and what they can do about it.

pulverized discarded objects shown in the exhibition

a:gain Kvadrat