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The Material Matters fair returns to Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf during the London Design Festival. The fair, which runs from 20-23 September (Wednesday to Saturday), will bring together world-leading brands, designers, makers, and innovators to investigate and celebrate the importance of materials and their ability to shape our lives.
Material Matters is committed to illustrating the importance of material intelligence and application across design, architecture and making. The Bargehouse, a unique central London venue, provides an unadorned but magnificent former factory setting, and each floor of the venue serves a slightly different purpose:
The ground floor – a dramatic, high-ceilinged space – will house a site-specific installation alongside a bespoke registration desk made from recycled materials and produced in partnership with Smile Plastics.
Floor one is devoted to innovators and experimentalists – brands and designers at the cutting edge of materials. Exhibitors to look out for include New York-based biomaterials company bioMATTERS and Silklab, also based in the USA.
Floor two is the show's learning space, inviting visitors to take a 'deep dive' into a handful of materials. It addresses the show's central question: how will materials shape our future? There will be returning exhibitors, such as Hydro in a space created by Lars Beller Fjetland, and The Tyre Collective will also demonstrate their process for capturing and re-constituting rubber from tyres.
Floor three is dedicated to market-ready cleverly designed products, featuring a circular-design approach and innovative materials. It will play host to a wide range of companies, makers and manufacturers, with a significant area curated by the Milan-based platform Isola with a selection of designers from their international community.
The fourth and top floor is a spectacular 50-metre-long loft that will contain the event's talk space as well as designers, makers and smaller manufacturers working in various materials.
The Wood Awards exhibition will showcase the buildings, furniture and products shortlisted for the Wood Awards 2023 at gallery@oxo, adjacent to Bargehouse. Featuring exceptional wood-centric work from some of the most interesting contemporary architects, designers and makers in the UK, the shortlist will provide a window into how timber can transform and enrich our lives and contribute to positive change in the built environment.
The 15th series of the Material Matters with Grant Gibson podcast also launched. Since its inception in 2019, the show has secured more than 420,000 downloads from 132 different countries, making it one of the leading podcasts in its field. The new season starts with the brilliant potter and writer Julian Stair explaining why he has used cremated ashes in some of his latest pieces.
'We were thrilled with the success of our debut as a fair last year,' says co-founder William Knight. 'It provided us with a fantastic base on which we're building another stand-out show, complemented with high-quality content that is relevant and timely. This year's fair promises to be stronger again, with exhibitors working in materials that range from milk, coffee, waste textiles and rubber particles to recycled aluminium and concrete, via paper and porcelain.'
The fair returns with a refreshed exhibitor line-up and a new headline sponsor: lighting specialist Bert Frank.