Greater London, United Kingdom— For the 2019 edition, the London Design Fair has chosen biomaterials as Material of the Year. Presented within its Second Yield exhibition, “PalmLeather” rugs will be a highlighted example of biomaterial design.
Now in its third year, Material of the Year offers an opportunity to highlight and scrutinize a key material, one whose properties are the subject of analysis and debate across the design world and beyond. Having considered the merits of reusing plastic components in design during last year’s Fair, this year the London Design Fair focused attention on biomaterials and their positive contribution to both design and the environment.
Biomaterials are often derived and made from by-products found in the agricultural industry. It’s a complex process and in order to demonstrate the complexities that beset biomaterials, the London Design Fair will show four examples of work by designers with a keen awareness of the environment. Using a range of by-products, these designers have created functional and aesthetically pleasing designs — they will be presented at the Fair’s Second Yield exhibition.
“The sheer volume of waste being repurposed and the potential volume these new materials can be used at, makes them extremely important and something we want to celebrate at the Fair,” said Jimmy MacDonald, founder and director of the London Design Fair.
The designers to be presented at the Fair’s Second Yield exhibition include Studio Tjeerd Veenhoven, which utilizes palm leaves to create rugs. Based in the Netherlands, Studio Tjeerd Veenhoven utilizes the waste of the areca palm tree, which produces an abundance of beautiful, unused palm leaves — around 80 million square meters yearly. Considering this natural waste, Tjeerd Veenhoven employs simple, natural ingredients and processes to permanently soften the dry, hard and brittle palm leaf, giving it a leather-like quality known as PalmLeather.
Tjeerd has designed various products that are locally produced and sold by craftspeople under fair working conditions. One such product is the PalmLeather interior rug. Made with softened palm leaves that are cut into strips and placed vertically, the rugs have beautifully creative patterns. Owing to their natural state, each rug is unique. These rugs are produced on commission in the Dominican Republic, in various sizes and patterns.
The other designers to be showcased at the London Design Fair include Fernando Laposse, who utilizes corn husks; Chip[s] Board, which utilizes potato waste; and High Society, which utilizes hemp, tobacco and pomace.