Virtual Design Festival

"There are no sustainable materials" says Material Library founder Björn Florman

As part of Virtual Design Festival's collaboration with Stockholm Design Week, the founder of the Material Library in Stockholm reveals what Scandinavian designers look for when they visit, and discusses environmentally friendly materials.

Sweden's Material Library is a showroom and exhibition space with thousands of material samples, open for architects, designers and product developers, as seen in this video for VDF.

It's run as a part of Stockholm Design Events, which also arranges Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair, Formex, WorkSpace Sweden, Stockholm Design Week and Summer Design.

VDF x Stockholm Design Week Material Library
The Materials Library is used by architects and designers looking for inspiration

Most designers who visit the Material Library ask founder Björn Florman the same two questions, he said: are there any new materials, and are there any environmentally friendly materials?

"I try to answer them both with 'no!', which of course can be a bit disappointing," Florman said.

"But let me explain: there really are very few new materials to be found. The boring reason for this is that the periodic table of elements has looked the same for decades. We read a lot about the development of new bioplastics, but I don't regard them as new," he continued.

"Before we started to invent plastics made from fossil-based oil, we were already using bioplastics, and many of those plastic materials are the ones being perceived as 'new' today. They are not new, they have just been forgotten for 70 years or so."

Choosing materials wisely helps to limit CO2 emissions, Florman said

Florman also explained that "there are no sustainable materials."

"Making your product more sustainable is all about limiting the damage you make to our environment," he said.

"Your product in itself will never be sustainable. But by choosing your materials wisely, you can limit the CO2 emissions and design a product more suitable for our growing circular economy."

Upcoming Stockholm Design Events:

Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair, 9-13 February 2021
Stockholm Design Week, 8-14 February 2021
Summer Design Week, 17-23 August 2020
Formex, 18-21 August 2020

Virtual Design Festival visitors who want to attend the upcoming Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair can take advantage of a special one-time offer from Stockholm Design Week and VDF. Register as a trade visitor and use the code vdf2020 to receive a 50% discount on the ticket price. The offer is valid until May 21, 2020.