Top 3 trends from Material Matters


Discovering the latest, greatest innovations in material design is a major part of what we do here at Material Lab. So, when the London Design Festival announced that 2022 would see the inaugural run of Material Matters, an exciting new design fair celebrating the importance of materials and their ability to shape our lives, we simply had to go and check it out for ourselves!

Spanning five floors inside the iconic Oxo Tower Wharf, Material Matters brings over 40 of the world’s most celebrated, influential designers and artisans together under one roof. It’s a melting pot of creativity and innovation, offering attendees the chance to engage with a range of insightful seminars and workshops.

This year, the whole event had been curated under the transcendent themes of circularity and sustainable design. It asked important, sometimes uncomfortable questions about the design industry’s responsibilities surrounding the climate crisis and prompted us to look at how we as designers can make a positive contribution in the race to net zero.

So, knowing all this, let’s dive straight in! There was an incredible array of things to see, touch, and experience at Material Matters, but we’ve rounded up the 3 that stood out the most.

Terrific terrazzo

Terrazzo has been a popular choice for interior design concepts for years, with residential and commercial schemes celebrating its fun, quirky aesthetic. At this year’s Material Matters, we saw examples of Terrazzo being reinvented in line with contemporary values, using reclaimed materials that would otherwise have been wasted or ended up polluting the environment.

Terrazzo plates made from waste plastics

Terrazzo from the Spared Collection by Volume Creative

London-based interior design studio, Volume Creative, were leading the way on this front. Their Spared collection uses chips of ocean and domestic plastics to form everything from furniture through to vases in an effort to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in our seas every year.

We loved how the team at Volume had managed to capture the unmistakable aesthetic of terrazzo whilst making a positive impact on the planet, seeing waste as an opportunity to create something beautiful.

Grass roots fashion

“Hey, I love your dress!”
“Thanks…I grew it myself!”

Not typically what we’d expect to hear when complimenting someone’s outfit, but that’s exactly the answer you get when speaking to Zena Holloway. She is a photographer-come-designer who is really shaking things up with her innovative approach to material production.

Sculptures and fashion grown from roots.

Root is a versatile new material by Zena Holloway

She’s taking the plant-based philosophy to a whole new level, growing clothing and sculptures from grass roots as a way of combating the problem of plastic head on. Working on the basis that roots are the foundations of the natural world, she is taking inspiration from the inherent resilience of plants and creating an incredible range of ultra-sustainable products that are about as close to the dictionary definition of bio-design as you can get.

With her exhibition having enjoyed rave reviews as it travelled across the world, we’ll no doubt be seeing a lot more from her in the coming years. Expect to see plant-based materials popping up in unconventional spaces and organic structures influencing more traditional mediums.

Origami-inspired lighting

From their Sussex studio, the duo behind Fung + Bedford are making serious waves in the lighting industry. They are known for creating the discipline of architectural origami - a radical reinvention of what we know origami to be, using Tyvek to construct impossibly intricate lighting installations for commercial and residential projects.

Origami lightscape immersive installation at Material Matters, by Fung & Bedford

An immersive, origami lightscape by Fung & Bedford

Tyvek is a 100% recyclable, waterproof, tear-proof, and sustainably sourced material that has all of the delicate qualities of paper. The result is the creation of mesmerising, almost iceberg-like structures, the intricate details of which are enhanced to great effect with LED lighting housed within.

We were captivated by the installations on show at Material Matters, and feel confident that we’ll be seeing origami-inspired lampshades, wall hangings, and ornaments in high street shops in the coming months.

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