EVENT GALLERY. Waste Dream at Melbourne Design Week 2023

For Melbourne Design Week 2023, we presented 'Waste Dream' - a circular design exhibition in partnership with Mater that explored how waste can be made into furniture. Read on for an event gallery of the exhibition and guided tour series, plus discover Mater's 'Conscious Collection' of furniture made from waste using groundbreaking green-tech processes. 

Photography by Amy Hemmings

Circular design exhibition — from waste to furniture.

For Melbourne Design Week 2023, we presented ‘Waste Dream’ in partnership with Mater – the Danish design company who are revolutionising circular furniture design by using green-tech processes to transform waste such as coffee bean shells, sawdust and plastic beer kegs into beautiful and sustainable furniture.

On show from 18-24 May in a garage space adjoining the Cult Melbourne showroom, this sustainability exhibition explored how different waste streams from industrial production by companies such as Carlsberg and Grohe can become new materials in the furniture industry.

Exhibition visitors immersed themselves in 70m2 of circular waste installations and discovered the design and production behind Mater’s ‘Conscious Collection’ - a series of innovative products by Børge Mogensen, Space Copenhagen, Eva Harlou and Nanna Ditzel. 

Each product in Mater’s ‘Conscious Collection’ is made with Matek® - a revolutionary suite of new materials developed by Mater that takes fibrous waste material, such as coffee bean shells, fishing nets, sawdust and beer kegs, and up-cycles it into a unique composite material that can be press-moulded to create new furniture. The result is an extremely malleable material with a texture very similar to stone or marble.

The Ocean Collection was on of the key designs on show in the exhibition. Originally designed in 1955 by renowned designers, Jøgen and Nanna Ditzel in wood, Mater has reimagined the range in recycled materials. In a nod to its materiality, the Ocean collection is largely made from ocean plastic waste - one of the most important issues facing our planet. A new innovative business model motivates fishermen across the world to dispose of their discarded fishing nets. One Ocean bench uses 3.2kg of ocean plastic waste.

More recently, Mater launched the Ocean OC2 Collection, with slats made from plastic beer kegs from Carlsberg, one of the leading breweries in the world. When the beer kegs are emptied after use, they get deflated, granulated and cast into the characteristic green coloured slats of the Ocean OC2 Collection.

Working with Waste.

Driven by a circular-economic approach to production, Mater uses green technology to upcycle waste streams and produce innovative and sustainable furniture solutions. Exhibition visitors were able to see how these waste streams are upcycled by Mater to produce sustainable furniture.

Green Technology Materials include:
- Industrial plastic waste: Left over industrial waste from GROHE is granulated into small plastic pieces. 
- Coffee shells: Discarded shells from BKI Kaffe's coffee bean roasting process.
- Beer kegs: Empty plastic beer kegs from Carlsberg are crushed and made into ready-to-use plastic granules.
- Spent grain: Spent grain waste from Carlsberg brewery.
- Mango wood: Harvested trees that would otherwise be burnt or left to break down.
- Discarded fishing nets: Collected from the ocean, shredded, cleaned and made into plastic pellets.
- Sawdust: Discards collected from the construction of wooden furniture. 

We were delighted to welcome Ole Bjerg from Mater, who hosted a series of guided exhibition tours throughout the week. 

Visitors were taken on a personal journey through the exhibition to learn how Mater is changing the way sustainability can be achieved in the furniture industry. 

Have you enjoyed reading about this exhibition? We’d love to hear your thoughts on waste stream circularity and the use of waste in furniture design. Share your ideas and send us your questions via Instagram or info@cultdesign.com.au.

Keen to discover more? Discover the full Mater collection here, or contact our team to find out more about the environmental certification of Mater products. 

In the Press.

"An embedded focus on sustainability is critical owing to the current needs of the planet. This extends to a demand for an evolved approach to furniture-making and the design world more broadly. Waste Dream offers a timely exploration into the need to transform overconsumption and waste."

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"Don't miss this exhibition of beautiful furniture — made from waste! Since the brand launched in 2006, Mater’s mission has been all about developing more sustainable production methods and now their patented technology is turning everything from coffee bean shells to sawdust and fishing nets into furniture!" 

Read article >

"Waste Dream is an exhibition presented by Melbourne furniture store Cult Design in partnership with Mater, a Danish company specializing in circular-economy furniture. Mater makes furniture made from fibrous waste materials such as coffee bean shells, fishing nets, sawdust and beer kegs." 

Read article >

Matek® by Mater. Upcycling industrial waste

“Mater means ‘mother’ in Latin. The name is the daily reminder of our small contribution to preventing the challenges ‘mother earth’ faces.

Design influences how we as humans live our lives; it shapes values, culture and society. Unfortunately, we are increasingly aware that the choices made during design processes often have environmental consequences.

However, as a manufacturer, we have the opportunity to rethink dubious practices and create ethical and sustainable design that minimises adverse social and environmental impacts.”

- Henrik Marstrand, Mater founder

Since the brand launched in 2006, Mater’s mission has been to search for and develop more sustainable production methods. After years of research and testing Mater has invented Matek® - a patented technology that allows them to mix up-cycled fibre-based waste materials, such as sawdust ad coffee bean shells, with different kinds of plastic waste. This up-cycled unique composite material can be press-moulded to create new furniture - as seen in with Mater’s ‘Conscious Collection'. 

Driven by a circular-economic approach to production, Matek® is designed to be reprocessed again and again and subsequently Mater have introduced a take-back scheme for their products; anything made from Matek® can be recycled and made into new furniture up to five times.

Discover Mater’s Conscious Collection - made from waste materials.

Ocean Collection by Jørgen and Nanna Ditzel

A design icon reimagined – the Ocean collection was first designedin 1955 in wood. Mater continues the Ditzel’s pioneering spirit by producing the Ocean collection from ocean waste plastic. Just one Ocean Chair makes use of 960g of plastic waste, saving up to 82% of CO2 emissions compared to virgin equivalents. In collaboration with Carlsberg, Mater have now also expanded the Ocean collection in a green finish, crafted from beer kegs that would otherwise have been discarded by the brewer.

Conscious Chair by Børge Mogensen and Esben Klint

The Conscious chair was originally created by Børge Mogensen and Esben Klint in 1958 for use in Danish schools. Now, Mater reintroduces this classic design using Matek. The result is a seat shell that is constructed from approximately 70% recycled plastic, 24% coffee shells and 6% recycled fibreglass.

Bowl Table Waste Edition by Ayush Kasliwal

Available in three variants: Wood Waste, Light Coffee Waste and Dark Coffee Waste. The two Coffee Waste editions are made from discarded industrial plastic waste mixed with the shells of coffee beans and the Wood Waste edition is a mixture of industrial plastic waste, sawdust and wooden fibres from the production of furniture.

Earth Stool by Eva Harlou

Available in Dark Coffee Waste Dark and Light Coffee Waste - the seat is made from coffee bean shells from the BKI Kaffee roasting process mixed with recycled industrial plastic waste from GROHE. Durable for both private and public use.

Eternity Collection by Space Copenhagen

Once again, Mater teamed up with BKI Kaffee and GROHE to source their waste materials, turning discarded coffee beans and waste plastic into a beautiful material with a mesmerising texture. This collection includes a range of seating and stools.

Founded in Copenhagen in 2006, Mater is a pioneering global brand with sustainability at its core. With a mission to create beautiful design in a responsible way, Mater has rethought tradi- tional design and production processes to help minimise their environmental impact. With every new furniture collection, they innovate with new materials and emphasise circular production whilst never comprising on high-quality and timeless design aesthetics.

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