In a world of waste and pollution, returning to all-natural products makes sense for the health of humans and the planet. Danish Designer Bonnie Hvillum made it the focus of her work to create such options, resulting in a collection of bio-materials made from algae, clay and foam.

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A thin orangey curtain screen and an up-close photo of it to the right

Sample products of clothing, curtains and drapes were made from the materials. They were then put on display in a collaboration with multi-disciplinary design brand Frama. The collection was on display in Frama’s Copenhagen showroom during the Days of Design Festival in 2021. 

Related: Charlotte McCurdy, Phillip Lim design carbon-neutral algae sequin dress

A photo of a doorway leading into a room with cabinets

Material research by Hvillum was well underway when she discovered the like-minded Frama. They also experiment with natural materials in their lifestyle object designs. 

“I design interactive user experiences with a playful yet visionary approach, constantly exploring the potential in the unseen. That allows me to create highly sensory experiences that offer, at the same time, an insight of nature’s available resources and how to use those creatively,” said Bonnie Hvillum, founder of Natural Material Studio.

A wall that has a thin semi-transparent fabric hanging from the doorway with an orange shelving next to it. The second photo on the wall is a hanger space filled with clothes hanging from it

Specifically, the fabrics included in the showroom display were created from products found in the environment. Alger is a seaweed fabric made from seaweed extract and softener, which is dyed with spirulina algae. Terracotta is a clay-pigmented biofabric formed using a protein-based binder extracted from collagen and a natural softener. B-foam is a product that has been in development by the Natural Material Studio since 2019. Charcoal is the base for the material, which had been previously featured in the Days of Design Festival. 

Left to right: A white cloth dotted with black ink. A tan shirt laid flat on a cushion

The process includes hand casting the fabric inside wooden frames. After a few days of drying time, the designs are then cut from the frames. 

As natural materials, all three are biodegradable. Inasmuch, Hvillum hopes the materials will become mainstream options, but encourages continued research on the potential beyond the bespoke fashion, interior design and furniture items Natural Material Studio developed.

A photo of bottles lined on a shelf

“These are early-stage versions – beta versions, pilot versions, whatever we call them in other industries. They do not live up to quality standards for fabrics yet, but hopefully they will one day with more research, testing and application trials continue,” said Hvillum.

Her goal is to explore what is possible and encourage others to do the same without getting caught up in the challenges. The display at Frama set the stage of organic-looking prototypes that show the possibilities. This includes Japanese-inspired curtains and concept clothing. 

+ Natural Materials Studio 

Images via Natural Materials Studio