Journeying through nature’s bounty: the world of natural materials
Copenhagen based designer Jonas Edvard works with material development and product design with a focus on natural materials
Jonas Edvard‘s work is focused on research into raw and natural materials, the history of their use and the future of their existence. From algae to mycelium and other organic materials, Jona’s design develops, naturally, an organic and crafty aesthetic.
DesignWanted interviewed Jonas to find more about the vision behind the work.
Why bio-based materials? And why using them for furniture?
“I am fascinated by the natural world and all the materials it has to offer. The last 150 years of industrial production and excavation of natural materials has led to a general idea that materials are never-ending. The truth is that nature does not offer us anything, instead, it lends us the possibility of a fascination in its creation. For me, that is truly endless.”
Thinking about how important the lifecycle of materials are in nature, I can’t help but think that all materials and design products should be returned to a useful state even when wasted – being food for another organism or construction of matter.”
What designers, styles or other fields outside of the design world are you inspired or influenced by?
“My inspiration comes from music, philosophy, and art. For me, the discussion of ideas allows open-minded thought development while satisfying our need for creation and understanding.”
A book which has inspired me recently is “I Contain Multitudes” by Ed Yong which explains the history and science of micro-organisms and the influence it had in our idea of the real components of nature and their symbiosis and struggle to become dominant in our lives, bodies and in our surroundings.”
What made you interested in material experimentation in the first place?
“To be honest, I have never found myself comfortable in any dedicated area of design. Instead, I have rather gain knowledge on almost other different disciplines.
When it comes to experiments, I think that my interest in textile and ceramics sparked and understanding of the complex world of natural materials and the effect on our lives.
This fascination with raw materials led to an investigation into the understanding of material characteristics, which could be described as a mouldable, meaning there is not a clear application direction but a lot of opportunities.”
What is the goal of trying to create new materials, especially natural ones?
“To actually create a new material one has to understand the purpose – as most materials carry a certain functionality. What interests me is “the life of the design object” and its journey from raw materials to production – to be sold and used – and to be returned into nature again.
All the situations surrounding the buying and use of the functional object is actually what interests me, not so much the design itself.”
What are the main advantages of producing a new material?
“Typically, I work with composites, which are a combination of minimum 2 materials, well-known examples are concrete, plywood or fiberglass – but a lot of the advantages with natural materials is the lightness and ability to transport humidity and nutrients.
Synthetics materials are modulated to become static and clean in their use and expression – for me, these don’t create an inspirational life. Instead, I use raw materials which possess an inherent quality – either as smell, color, tone or tactility – which is unthinkable and therefore wild and unique.”
What’s your view on material waste?
“The MYX project (2013) actually started as a look into “what is waste” and my initial ideas were to make a product which was made from waste, did not produce waste and instead turned the waste into a product.
The process of constantly discarding the “waste”, created an ignorance of the circular cycle of materials and nutrients. Instead, we should embrace the source and the destination as well as creating a positive transformation in the leftover materials, which literally floods our oceans with trash.”
Which are the main values that, above all, will always represent yourself?
“My main value is coherence. Always show yourself as a part of the whole, not the main attraction. As a work ethic, I tend to let the object speak for themselves, giving myself time away to process the experience of creation, which sometimes takes over.
One thought which guides me every day – is from the book “The Power of Now” written by Eckhart Tolle – which describes: “People don’t realize that now is all there ever is; there is no past or future except as memory or anticipation in your mind.”