What Matter_s 02  

Research & design

for Ballingslöv (SE) In collaboration with Lab La Bla (SE)

Exhibited at Form/Design Center (SE), winter 2021

Sweden - Copenhagen 2019-2020

Photos: Daniel Engvall

In 2019 a group of designers were paired with six large manufacturing companies in Southern Sweden for the project What Matter_s 2.0 with the goal of developing new sustainable materials and applications using industrial waste. The project is organised by Form/Design Center, a cultural institution in Malmö, Sweden. The research and design work was shown at the Metabolic Processes for Leftovers exhibition in January, curated by Copenhagen-based Kiosk Studio.

The purpose of the project was to present the innovative power of interdisciplinary collaborations. Using ‘design thinking’ as a method and a form of ‘metabolic processes, industrial leftovers are treated and valued as raw materials. The exhibition showcases the resulting concepts and explores possible applications so. It also gives an insight to some of the challenges connected to waste management for manufacturers.

Today – more than ever – we are in need to change current linear production and consumer culture towards a more regenerative, circular way of consuming products/materials, and provide new alternatives to toxic plastics and other irresponsible materials.

"The aim of the project was to demonstrate the power of interdisciplinary collaborations. Many big manufacturing companies don’t have any experience of working with a designer and they are unaware of what a designer can bring in terms of understanding users, challenge assumptions, redefining problems and creating innovative solutions,"

- What Matter_s 2.0 project manager Terese Alstin

Natural Material Studio and Swedish design duo Lab La Bla collaborated with Ballingslöv to design a new usage for leftover materials from their production in Southern Sweden. Ballingslöv produce kitchen, bathroom and storage solutions, however a great sum of leftover materials from the production. In this project we focused on the off-cut veneer, ash and wood chips from granulated off-cuts. 

Throughout a research phase we designed a series of sculptural furniture objects, The Volumes, and hanging shelves based on the ash. 

The volumes reference functional aspects of a kitchen and are made to facilitate the use of various sized off-cuts of veneer and MDF. The veneer (seen as deceptive/fake) has been sandblasted, stained and laser cut into tiles, laid into a pattern and lacquered, to highlight the natural topography of wood. 


The shelves are made by hacking the traditional scagliola technique and using simple kitchen appliances as tools combined with a very intuitive almost “orgasmic” procedure. A very hands on process where the ash acts as the pigment/filler/pattern.