The London Design Fair, which takes place in September, always selects a material of the year. For 2019 it has chosen biomaterials, an entire group of materials which, in addition to classics such as plastic, wood and metal, urgently deserves more attention. The production of our food creates all sorts of by-products which were previously used as animal feed, burned, or simply thrown away. Increasing numbers of designers are turning to research and developing new raw materials from these hidden resources. The potentials for leather from palm leaves, plastic from potatoes and wood from Mexican corn were presented in London. Designer Fernando Laposse used the reddish yellow outside leaves of the cobs to develop a veneered material called Totomoxtle, which preserves colours that are typical for sweetcorn in poetic surfaces. McCain has joined forces with Rowan Minkley and Rob Nicoll to produce Parblex Plastics from potato waste, which can be used and processed just like plastic.
Spectacle frames made of potato waste: a chip(s)board product made of plastic substitute Parblex collaborating with Cubitts. © Chip(s)board