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September 2020

Mater designs a stool in spent grain from beer production

By Beer production

Dezeen showroom:Design brand Mater launched Mask Stool, made from spent grains from the Carlsberg brewery’s beer production, at the Danish design festival 3 Days of Design.


The stool, presented as part of the brand’s Circular Design exhibition at the Villa Copenhagen hotel in the Danish capital, was designed by Danish architect Eva Harlou.

The Mask stool is adjustable in height

The exhibit also included a new version of the Earth Stool, which is made from the plastic discarded from insulin pens.

Mask Stool is made using sustainable design technology developed by Mater in collaboration with the Danish Technological Institute and the University of Copenhagen, which mixes fiber-based materials with plastic waste.

Spent grain remnants from the Carlsberg beer production process, called mask in Danish, are used to create the stool. The moist fiber-based mass is dried and then combined with a plastic waste granule to create a mixture that can be molded into furniture.

The Mater's Mask stool is made from spent grain
It was made from a mass of wet fibers which has been dried and combined with plastic waste

The designers did a lot of testing before finding the right new material, and this opened the door to several new material possibilities.

“It’s not only a challenge, but it’s also very interesting because now we know how to do it,” Harlou said.

“Now we can use not only the spent grains but also the coffee beans and wood chips,” added the architect. “This method of production is limitless. We can expand it and work with all kinds of different industries to take their waste and turn it into a great design.”

Mask Stool by Earth Studio made from spent grain
The stool was created by the Earth Studio of Mater and Eva Harlou

Harlou and Mater work together under the nickname Earth Studio. The partnership is located next to the Mater Earth Gallery in Copenhagen and works on architecture and interior concepts, furniture design and the development of new sustainable materials.

Earth Studio has already launched the Earth Stool, which is partly made from recycled plastic packaging waste. At 3 Days of Design, Mater presented a new version of this stool.

Mater's Earth stool in
Earth Stool can be made from plastic from discarded insulin pens

This stool has a seat made either from plastic waste from Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk mixed with shells from roasting coffee beans or, as for Mask, from spent grains mixed with industrial plastic waste from Denmark .

Novo Nordisk’s plastic waste came from discarded insulin pens, which were heated in a specially developed machine. The mass was then molded, using a production process which was also developed in collaboration with the Danish Technological Institute with support from the University of Copenhagen.

“We are known in Denmark for having Novo Nordisk, which is the world leader in insulin pens for diabetes,” said Henrik Marstrand, founder and CEO of Mater. “The waste produced from this is converted with heated coffee beans into a 50-50 blend.”

“This is the path our company is taking,” he added. “It seeks to convert the waste stream into products without any compromise on the aesthetics or finish of the materials.”

Mater's Nova Sea chair made from old fishing nets
The Nova Sea Chair by Mater has a shell made from recycled fishing nets

The exhibit also included the Nova Sea Chair, made from 96% discarded fishing nets and hard plastic for Villa Copenhagen by Mater, in collaboration with Danish design studio Arde.

Fishing nets come from the only recycling factory in the world for these nets, located in Denmark, which pays fishermen for their used equipment to prevent them from being thrown into the ocean.

Arde and Mater created the Nova Sea Chair
The Nova Sea chair was made by Mater and Arde

As part of 3 Days of Design, Harlou and Mater also unveiled a new hotel room at Villa Copenhagen, featuring interiors made from sustainable materials, including recycled wood and plastic.

The bricks collected on the site during the construction of the hotel were crushed and transformed into a paste which was used to cover the walls.

Although the design has only been implemented in one room, for now Harlou has said she hopes what Earth Studio learns from her design will eventually be repeated in other rooms in Villa Copenhagen. .

“Some of those things are really ‘learning by doing’, but it’s also sometimes great because we have to have a playing field,” she said.

3 Days of Design is the annual design event in Denmark and was originally scheduled to take place in May, but the festival has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Product: Mask Stool, Earth Stool and Nova Sea Chair
Mark: Mother

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