Designs with the main feature ‘firmness’

Plasma Rock

Landfill waste is transformed into energy with the only by-product being the Plasma Rock.
The quality of this nearly undiscovered and non-toxic material is that it is mechanically strong, dense and environmentally stable. Besides the aesthetic differences (Plasma Rock can be green or black), the rocks have differences in the number of elements, depending on the type of waste.


A research project which looks at how we can work with, instead of against, the natural quality of jute to create a high-quality sensitive product. Jute is normally used ‘behind the scenes’ and never as aesthetic material.

The New Age of Trichology

An innovative and sustainable research project, where human hair waste is recycled and applied in material and productdesign. The project focuses on the high tensile strength of hair.


Lithoplast is a new composite material that brings to life a speculative and scientific-based research into the future of plastic pollution and how it hybridizes into a new material in the geological strata of the earth. The name Lithoplast suggests its abilities: Lithos- meaning ‘stone’, and Plast, meaning ‘capable of being shaped or molded’.

Photo: Alan Boom

Personal Knitwear for everybody

The clothing industry can and must become more sustainable. If an article of clothing meets the specific wishes of the wearer – in terms of fit, material and colour – full clothes racks in shops are unnecessary. Rosanne van der Meer combines 3D knitting with an on-demand system.

The Growing Lab – Mycelia

Fungi are micro-organisms that consist of many extremely small and fast-growing hyphal threads. Grow the fungi on the right substrate and a new, strong material will form, which can take on any three-dimensional form. The Growing Lab is an ongoing research project into the possibilities of using fungi for design and architecture.

The Salt Pup

A mixture of almost 90 percent sea salt, a small about of starch and water is heated and dried, leaving a white, hard, translucent material. The material is strong under compression force and weak under tensile force. The logical shape that follows from this is an arch or dome.

Virtual Paper

The world of materials is bigger than the material world. Using algorithms, computers can simulate the natural characteristics of materials. Ontwerper Borgart uses an algorithm developed by the University of California at Berkeley to simulate the characteristics of paper.


A prosthetic arm can be heavy, expensive and uncomfortable, as was discovered by a jewellery maker who had lost her arm and was fitted for a prosthesis. Roel Deden developed an attachment for her that is more of tool than a replacement of a body part.

Hollow Tube Technique

Dirk van de Kooij is researching whether recycled materials can be used in a pulverised form, to which auxiliary materials are added directly, making energy-intensive processing of recycled materials unnecessary.

Phygital Virtuosity

Bastiaan de Nennie merges the digital and physical worlds. Objects from the pre-digital age are scanned, the scans are dissected and the components are used as building blocks for new digital creations. Objects are reused in a digital workshop, in a manner of speaking.


The glass industry uses only white, pure sand for the manufacturing of glass. This type of sand can only be found in a small number of sand quarries around the world. As part of the Sandbank project, Atelier NL is experimenting with various local, non-pure types of sand. Types of sand from different locations produce different colours, patterns, and textures.
Sand from different locations produces different colors, patterns, and textures. Melted in the oven the sands fracture, foam, and harden into crystallization patterns. With SandBank Atelier NL explores the potential of these new material variations.

Photo: Mike Roelofs

Mycelium Project

With the Mycelium Project, Studio Eric Klarenbeek aims to offer an alternative to plastics and bioplastics in the relatively young market of 3D printing. The chair is printed with mycelium, a network of hyphae. Instead of melting layers of plastic together, Eric Klarenbeek uses mycelium as ‘living glue. The basic raw material is vegetable waste.

BB. Platform

The basis for the development of textiles by byBorre lies in the mattress industry and the circular knitting machine. Utilizing the technique used in the mattress industry, in which thick fabrics are knitted with filling yarn, Borre has rewritten the programmes for the machines.

Invert Footwear

The Invert Footwear collection consists of pairs of different brands of sneakers and flip-flops. For example, Elisa van Joolen turned sample models of Nike skate sneakers inside out and created new matching soles made of flip-flops. The Nike sole became new sandals. Each pair of shoes is unique.

Protective Underwear

For her graduation project at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, Julia Veldhuijzen van Zanten sought inspiration in the fact that more and more older people want to stay independent for as long as possible, and she started focusing on the emotional and ecological impact of a common problem: worldwide, one in four women and one in eight men have to cope with some degree of incontinence. That’s about 200 million people.

CaCO3 Stoneware

Inspired by the growth of stalactites, Laura Lynn Jansen and Thomas Vailly have found a way to ‘grow’ stone in different forms. Their design series, CaCO3 Stoneware, consists of objects grown around structures drop by drop. The fragile skeleton, a 3D-printed structure, undergoes a petrification process that lasts many weeks in specially chosen thermo-mineral springs with a high calcium carbonate content, also known as CaCO3.

Photo: Floor Knaapen


In North-Holland, thousands of hectares of tulips are decapitated in May to retain the energy in the tulip bulb. Tulip growers do nothing with the tulip heads. With No-ink, Tjeerd Veenhoven has developed a process to give this flow of residual tulip heads a new purpose. First, the tulip heads are dried in a large rotating drum in the studio and then the stems and pistils are removed. The tulip’s petals remain.


In order to explore the different applications of graphite, Niels Datema has designed various products, each of which has a certain property of graphite. Datema discovered that graphite has huge potential in terms of sustainability. It is an excellent electrical conductor and has a very low resistance. Graphite is the only naturally dry lubricant that we know of. Furthermore, the material is exceptionally resistant to extreme temperatures and to corrosion.


Ivorish is the result of substantive and artistic research dedicated to the ambiguous beauty of ivory. The intended jewellery line by Nina van den Broek is made of milk teeth. By pulverizing the material into powder and then manually shaping an object out of it, Van den Broek has created a versatile new kind of ivory without any restrictions.

Clean Art

Jan Eric Visser (1962) has been transforming the inorganic part of his household refuse into autonomous works of art since 1987 as an ongoing project and his lifework. All sorts of waste items literally disappear in his sculptures, defining their shapes. Waste paper and coloured leaflets, processed and eventually impregnated with wax, make up the skins of the works.


Botany, as a discipline, began with early human efforts to identify edible, medicinal and poisonous plants, making it one of the oldest sciences. More than two centuries ago plants started to be categorized also for their secretions, a possible source of material.

The Layer Chair

The Layer Chair refers to the beauty of nature. A beauty that was exposed under the influence of erosion: the stratification of different types of rock. It tells a story about the origins of the landscape and how the shapes in landscapes evolve over time. The emergence of relief, the endless colors and tactillities in the successive layers, that always slightly differ in shape as a result of their asymmetry, formed the basis for the design of the Layer Chair.

Blended Materials

As a part of his graduation project Tom van Soest designed a blender that pulverizes demolition waste materials like window glass, brick and concrete. After pulverizing the materials he mixes and fires the powders in the correct proportions and shapes. Glass functions as the binding material in each Blended Material.

Black to Binchotan

It started with a song by Tom Waits, ‘She is a diamond that wants to stay coal’.
Since charcoal is part of the same carbon type as diamonds, C6, just having a different molecular structure, Gitte Nygaard decided she was going to give evolution a helping hand and make her own ‘diamonds’ out of charcoal.
Her idea was to replace the diamonds by binchotan, a special type of charcoal that is produced in Japan and Korea, by means of an ancient and sustainable tradition.

Joined Forces

The design of Joined Forces emerged from a materials study of natural fibres and resin (bio-composites). When a fibres is hardened it gains resistance against pressure forces besides the strong tensile strength characteristics it already possesses.

‘6:1’ and ‘Ceramic Paint / Collection Cornwall’

The production of pristine white porcelain is a heavy burden to the environment: the production of one kilogram of porcelain produces six kilograms of waste, and the mining changes the landscape forever. The produced waste is not used in the ceramic industry, but disappears in our roads, buildings or is reintroduced into the landscape creating ‘pyramids’ of sand and minerals.

Kirsty van Noort was the second winner of the Material Award 2012

Reconstructing particles – Farrago

Reconstructing Particles is a research project investigating different possibilities of recycling, aiming to find new applications for waste and residual materials (industrial and biological) combined with different craft techniques, focussed on material innovations.

Makers Festival

The Makers Festival is a festival in Amsterdam that promotes the role of craftsmanship and production in today’s society.
In designing the layout for the festival the designers paid heed to the waste materials that could be sourced in the area as a way of minimising transport costs (the ‘harvest cart method’ used by 2012 Architects).


Slippers are made using the leaves of the Areca palm. Inherently tough, strong and flexible, the leaves can be soaked in mixture of biological raw materials to regain their innate qualities. After processing and drying, the resulting material is flexible and strong, very like leather.

First Runner Up

The raincoat is made from a new textile developed on the basis of a C2C certified interior furnishing fabric impregnated with an eco-friendly coating so that the garment is waterproof. The coat can easily be taken apart and recycled.

Integral foamed concrete

A core of foamed concrete with a solid outer layer. The kernel and cladding are both made from sand, cement and water and are fully recyclable.
The worldwide production of concrete continues to rise, but innovation is lagging behind. Foamed concrete is lighter and more durable than ordinary concrete but is also more vulnerable and water-absorbent. These disadvantages can be eliminated by covering the core with a solid outer shell.

Fabric Facade

Insulating fa’ade fabric made from strips of recycled PTFR (Teflon) sourced from conveyor belts used in the food processing industry. The strips are cut out of five-metre-long rolls. The pallets used to transport the material are used as cutting tables.


The wood used in the seating element and back panel has been infected with a mould culture, then dried to inactivate the mould and give the wood an exotic appearance. Inspired by an age-old Japanese craft technique, the legs and arm rests of the chair have been scorched.


Experiments with and research into 3D programmes and production methods for fashion and interior design where production and choice of materials are interlinked. 3D printing means that you only produce what you need, where you need it, using only the amount of material you need. Embellishments, zips and so on can be integrated into the fabric.

The Drinking Fountain

A ceramic container that cools water as an alternative to the plastic water coolers found in offices and public places. If clay is fired at a low temperature it allows water to evaporate through the porous walls, bringing about a natural cooling effect. The cooler is linked to the water supply, doing away with the need for bottled water.


Throughout the Netherlands, the areas around railway and bus stations are overflowing with old, abandoned bikes that need to be cleared away.


The marriage of traditional jewellery craftsmanship with technological innovations fosters a dialogue between tradition and innovation, the hand-made and the mass-produced, low tech and high tech. 3D printing signals a revolution in the jewellery design industry. The computer-controlled printer builds up the designed product layer by layer. Today, the process can print on over fifteen materials including natural materials such as metals, sandstone, rubber and gold.

Waste Materials

Wall hanging of merino wool, raw silk and the leftover wool of Drenthe Heath sheep dyed using various tints of the plant dye, woad.

Waste Ware

Waste is used as a raw material for making new products. Coffee residue left over from the coffee roasting process of major Dutch coffee producers, is gathered, cleaned and heat-pressed. The resin that this releases is a natural binder; the material resembles Bakelite in both structure and colour.


Zipp is a lamp made from a flat section of polypropylene 0.4 mm thick, with a metre-long zip attached. All you need to do is zip together the long strip of material to create a wonderful spherical lampshade. In general, most lamps are packed in space-consuming boxes for transportation. And what is actually being transported is mainly air.


A carry-case made from a mixture of dried wood chips and a home-made gelatine-glycerine biologically degradable adhesive. The result is a type of lightweight chipboard that is both robust and flexible and can be manufactured into sheets or kneaded like clay.

De broodzak

Baking bread is something many people enjoy, but afterwards you are left with a very messy kitchen. The alternative is a bread-making machine, but that has the disadvantage of being energy-intensive. Made from silicone, the bread bag has been designed for people to make their own bread without getting dough all over their hands and their kitchen counter.

Spring Wood Restless Legs

Wood is flexible, otherwise a tree would not be able to survive and branches would break off. But the wood used in furniture manufacture is, in contrast, generally tough, streamlined, stable and rigid.


Bamboo is a renewable resource. This fast-growing grass turns into wood during its life cycle and, after five years, yields wood of almost the same density as tropical wood types. And, once it has been harvested, new bamboo shoots appear almost immediately.


3D printing is a technique that enables making shapes that would be impossible to create by hand. The product is a computer file that users can download from the net, so the chosen design can be altered and printed out anywhere in the world. The method has several advantages: items no longer need to be kept in stock, and there are no transportation and shipping costs.

Formed from Clay

The Netherlands is a land formed by river, sea and glacier clay. By excavating clay in different sites throughout the Netherlands, shaping them and firing them, an incredible series of tiles resulted: a ceramic map in a variety of colours.

Bagazo, chaise

The Bagazo chair is made out of bagasse, a natural waste fibre from the sugarcane industry. It is used to develop a bio composite that can be deployed in the making of furniture.

KAZMOK re-use

While searching for a material for the production of durable, strong bags, Dinand Stufkens discovered old conveyor belts once used by post order companies and flower auctions.

Side Table

The Side Table is part of the Urushi Series, in which Aldo Bakker works in collaboration with Uruschi artist Mariko Nishide. The Urushi Series last for all times, which is the ultimate in sustainability.

Seam Chair

When developing the Seam Chair and Seam Bench Chris Kabel worked with Materials Lab of the Air and Space Faculty at the TU Delft and composites manufacturer Lankhorst Indutech in Sneek. Chris Kabel used the material Pure, which is a 100% woven polypropylene textile (PP threads) with an internal core that melts at around 180 degrees C and an outside that melts at 130 degrees C. At the right temperature, the outer layer melts, fixing the remaining fibres. The result is an extremely hard recyclable material in contrast to the glass fibre-reinforced plastics currently used in the (furnishings) industry.

China Cabinet

During an internship with the EKWC, Marjan van Aubel started her research into porcelain foam, light but extremely hard porcelain.  This porcelain is even more sustainable because it can be fired at just 900 degrees C, and expands three times in the oven (normal porcelain has to be fired at 1260 degrees) so that only a third of the materials are required. The lightweight materials users fewer resources, are easier to transport and very long-lasting.

Moving Meshes

Research into materials is a key part of the work of Maria Blaisse. Essential qualities here are simplicity, clarity, beauty, durability and making optimal use of the material and its characteristics.


The NewspaperWood material, made from wood, lets it go back to being wood. To make a NewspaperWood ‘tree trunk’ the papers are individually glued and tightly rolled up. When dry, the material can be used. The result is incredibly like (solid) wood and, like wood, can be sawn, drilled, sanded and finished with wax, oil or transparent lacquers.

Gaudi Stool

Weight is a crucial aspect of sustainability. Lightweight products use less energy. Geenen’s research looked at systems found in nature and in architecture. The research project culminated in a series of designs in which each item of furniture is designed on the dynamics of a constructional principle.