This page was printed from

Danish art studio makes, exhibits bio-based materials

Swatches | May 1, 2024 | By:

Bonnie Hvillum, founder of Natural Material Studio. Image: Natural Material Studio/Johannes Berger

Natural Material Studio (NMS), founded in 2019, is a multidisciplinary art studio in Copenhagen, Denmark, that operates at the cross-section of art, design, research and architecture with its installations, consultancy and commissions centered on the principles of circular design using bio-based materials, including textiles and foam.

Brick Textiles developed by Natural Material Studio and material designer Zuzanna Skurka for Alcova 2023, an annual design show held in Milan, Italy. The fabric is made from biomaterial and recycled bricks that were classified as waste after demolition. Image: Natural Material Studio/Jente Christensen

Founded by creative director Bonnie Hvillum, the studio has created work ranging from curtains and clothing to packaging and seating from biomaterials and even restaurant tableware made from repurposed seashells.

The biotextiles the studio uses are composed of protein-based biopolymers, natural softeners and chalk and are produced through a casting technique and process called Procel. Through this process, each piece appears earthy and light in tone with unique variations, such as different swirls and bubbles. These biotextiles biodegrade within a month via home compost.
The material can also be recast for further use.

A curtain installation in skin care store Big Beauty in Hackney, London, created by the studio in 2023. It features the same ingredients as the store’s products: clay, algae, charcoal and mushrooms. Image: Natural Material Studio/Abi Frances

NMS’s largest solo exhibition, titled “Human Nature,” was presented at 3daysofdesign, an annual design festival in Copenhagen in June 2023. Focused on the fluidity between people, space and design, the studio reframed 650 square meters (nearly 7,000 square feet) of a hall in the Copenhagen Contemporary art institution. The exhibition included 7-meter-long (23-foot-long) works, sculptural seating and framed lighting.

One of the stools from OFFSET, a series of sculptural stools created by Natural Material Studio for New York Design Week in November 2021. Image: Natural Material Studio/Ananda Ferreira

The studio also makes B-Foam using a protein-based biopolymer and natural softener. To create the foam, the studio perforates micro-level air pockets into the material. Beeswax is also incorporated into the foam to create an outer barrier, making it both durable and washable. 

Lighting Works on display at the 2023 Mindcraft Project in Copenhagen, Denmark. It features Natural Material Studio’s biotextiles upholstered on oak frames with cool-toned LED lights. Image: Natural Material Studio/Anders Sune Berg

The foam can be used for lining or padding in apparel, shoes, accessories and furniture, such as OFFSET, the series of sculptural stools the studio launched at New York Design Week in November 2021. The stools consist of biodegradable mattress foam, B-Foam and Dinesen Douglas fir offcuts.

Using seashell-based clay, Natural Material Studio and ceramist Esben Kaldahl created dinnerware called Shellware and a place mat made of seaweed. Image: Natural Material Studio/Peter Vinther

B-Foam biodegrades within three months and can be composted or recycled into new material. Natural pigments can also be added for other color variations.

“We are determined to understand how we can design in collaboration with nature and the natural occurrences that happen within these organic processes. We are seeking to find the balancing point between human and nature’s own agency,” says Hvillum.

Share this Story