Stockholm Design Week 2024 showcased a plethora of innovative designs, among which the environmentally conscious Mat chairs by Denmark’s Normann Copenhagen stood out prominently. This groundbreaking furniture line, crafted from bio-based materials, marks a significant step forward in sustainable design, thanks to the pioneering efforts of the design duo Foersom & Hiort-Lorenzen, in collaboration with Normann Copenhagen.
Delving into the essence of sustainability and innovation, the Mat chairs are distinguished by their use of hemp and eelgrass as core materials, showcasing a dedication to eco-friendly design principles. The collection comprises two distinct chair types—one fashioned from hemp and the other from eelgrass—each bearing the unique, natural hues of their materials: a golden tone for the hemp and a rich brown for the eelgrass. This choice of materials not only emphasizes the chairs’ aesthetic appeal but also their environmental benefits.
The foundation of these chairs is a robust, powder-coated steel, ensuring durability and stability, while the biomaterials lend the pieces a characteristic flair that is both rustic and refined. This initiative represents Normann Copenhagen’s foray into the realm of bio-based plastics, underlining a transformative approach towards innovative and sustainable production techniques—a vision passionately shared by Jan Anderson, the brand’s co-founder and CEO.
The genesis of the Mat chairs is a testament to the enduring commitment and visionary foresight of Peter Hiort-Lorenzen, co-founder of Foersom & Hiort-Lorenzen. With a project timeline extending over two decades, Hiort-Lorenzen’s ambition was to replace conventional plastics in furniture manufacturing with plant-based fibers. Early prototypes emerged in 2005, with a pivotal shift towards hemp as a primary material occurring in 2008, offering improved durability and aesthetic appeal over initial designs.
A notable aspect of the Mat chairs is the sourcing of raw materials from farms that regard hemp and eelgrass as surplus, thereby promoting a circular economy. The innovative blend of hemp fibers and dried seagrass, transformed into sheets and then molded into shape through compression, illustrates a commendable fusion of sustainability and functionality.
Designed for versatility, the Mat chairs can effortlessly transition from dining settings to bar stools, and even to workspace environments, with their design allowing for both upholstered and non-upholstered configurations. This adaptability, coupled with their sustainable construction, makes the Mat chairs a compelling addition to any interior space, embodying Normann Copenhagen’s dedication to eco-friendly innovation and stylish, practical design.