It has been truly joyful to be included amongst some of the most inspirational and beautiful natural materials for the built environment in a curation for the exhibition ‘Materials FOR and FROM the Earth’. The display was curated by Material Driven for the Architect at Work shows exhibiting in Madrid, Spain October – November 2022.
Material Driven have captured the rapidly evolving design environment and solutions that are uniquely crafted from earthen, natural raw materials and waste streams, as well as those which are being engineered to feed back into the health of the planet in a regenerative manner. We are proud and inspired to be among some super exciting materials.
Building materials made simply of ‘earth’ – clay, stone, soil – have been in use for at least 25,000 years. Today’s renewed interest in the beauty, health and sustainability of natural materials is encouraging individuals and organisations to take them to new heights and capabilities. Clayworks began as a company working with natural building materials, digging clays up on site for use in cob buildings. As recently as five years ago clay plasters were still regarded as ‘primitive’ and we are proud to have led the way in making them a contemporary, problem-solving construction material.
Material Driven explain: ‘The last 5-10 years have sparked an awakening in the design and construction worlds. Creators and users are both aware that any materials employed in products and spaces will eventually return to the earth. These materials either leave a toxic and damaging trail on the environment, or give back, so to speak, breaking down at their end of life into elements which are truly nutritional for the earth. A wave of Regenerative solutions is taking over – compostable, bio-based, bio-fabricated, carbon negative and purifying – each designed FOR the earth as their customer. Often these materials are drawing away waste streams and pollutants from a variety of industries, neutralising them and transforming them into materials of value’.
A few of our favourite materials in the curation include Leap, by Beyond Leather, a new, scalable and resilient plant-based leather alternative that turns apple waste from cider as its sustainable source.
PLUMA, meanwhile, is new, slim, naturally coloured mycelium based acoustic panel from bio-pioneers Mogumycelium who also make bio-based Floor Flex flooring.
A seaweed-based bioplastic, Shellcrete from Studio Kathryn Larsen, ‘The Seaweed Girl, is among the other materials. Larsen works with ingredients such as polymers derived from Seaweed, pigments from Microalgae, and ground shell powder to create sustainable new materials for the built environment, many of which find their inspiration in historical and vernacular constructions.
A collection of biodegradable and compostable tiles by Giles Miller is crafted with by-products of wine, hemp, coffee and tobacco production.
Beautiful, biodegradable leather alternative materials fromNuvireleafare based on upcycled Tobacco leaves, natural chalk and marble and are plastic-free, vegan and have a carbon footprint 90% lower than other counterparts.