Natural Material Studio Bonnie Hvillum - A Pioneer of Biodegradable Design
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Natural Material Studio

The founder of Natural Material Studio, Bonnie Hvillum, knows how to feel alive. Using only natural, circular, biodegradable components, her Copenhagen-based creative design studio undergoes in-depth research with clients to turn what would be waste into living, breathing materials that respond to their environment. 

The award-winning team aims to transform the design discourse for equal synergies between humans, nature, and space. But what does this actually look like in practice? The Lighting Works is a continuous series of art objects that shine a light on environmentalism. A material of bio-polymers, natural softeners and chalk is stretched on an oak frame, with cool-toned LED lighting. Like all of the Studio’s fabrics, the artworks expand and soften in warm conditions, and subtract and stiffen in cooler and drier conditions.

With a strong interest in multi-disciplinary collaboration, Hvillum has also worked with the Danish Environmental Ministry’s Technology Institute to create a leather-like material made from discarded Danish Christmas trees. The pine needle material can be treated like leather and wood, so it has applications in fashion, interiors, architecture, and beyond.

In the real world, the Studio has worked with the Big Beauty store in Hackney, London, to create an installation of wall and cupboard panels made with the same natural ingredients as the organic skincare range – clays, algae, charcoal and mushrooms – and which look especially golden when the sun shines through them. At ⁠ÅBEN brewery in Copenhagen, leftover grains (known as mask) were intuitively made into wall panels. At the Noma restaurant, a clay ceramic dish collection was made from the kitchen’s leftover seashells.

In fashion, the Studio has worked with Calvin Klein to create gift pouches made of Procel – a material with ingredients and pigments sourced directly from nature.

It also created a charcoal fabric for Moskal’s showing at a recent London Fashion Week. (Charcoal naturally filters the air, and could act as a natural fertiliser when it is time to biodegrade.)

With a master’s degree in interaction design and having run a consultancy company for process facilitation within the circular economy, Hvillum is well aware that she is creating new systems. She is also hoping to show how compostable, circular materials can be a new form of luxury.  “From a position where we invent, create and design with natural materials, our ambition is to introduce non-linear logics to the fluid field of art, design and space,” she notes on the Studio’s website. 

Along with Rita Trindade of Through Objects, Hvillum has also founded The Material Way – offering online courses (and a global network) focusing on local and natural materials found in all corners of the world.

This is to say that if you live and breathe sustainable design, the Natural Material Studio is worthy of your time and attention.

Natural Material Studio Bonnie Hvillum - A Pioneer of Biodegradable Design Natural Material Studio Bonnie Hvillum - A Pioneer of Biodegradable Design


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