A Sense of Craft at MM 23

In many respects Material Matters is concerned with the importance of making. Craft is a thread that runs through the fair, starting with last year’s headline sponsor, the high end, British lighting manufacturer, Bert Frank. The brand  marked its tenth anniversary with new product launches that celebrate the considered use of exceptional materials, created from its factory in Birmingham.

On the top floor, designer-maker Ana Bridgewater (also known as Abalon) created extraordinary lighting sculptures from Corallo porcelain, while Mixed Metals – a collaboration between leading metal artists Juliette Bigley and Simone ten Hompel – were back at the fair with an interactive installation.

Goldfinger is an award-winning social enterprise that designs and crafts timeless furniture and homeware, using reclaimed and sustainable materials. Its profits support the Goldfinger Academy, which creates pathways to design and craft careers for young people in the local community, and the People’s Kitchen, a monthly community meal cooked from surplus ingredients.

Craftsmanship has always been vital to Gareth Neal’s practice but its definition has often stretched beyond the handmade into the digital. The studio showed ODC 3D on the fair’s first floor. The work, produced in collaboration with The New Raw and funded by The Better Factory though an EU grant, promises to push the boundaries of traditional 3D printing and uses a three times recycled polymer.

Bill Amberg Studio has long been one of the most important names in leather. Last year, it teamed up with the Knepp Estate, renowned for its ground-breaking rewilding project, to design and manufacture a sustainable furniture collection. The pieces use materials sourced from the estate – leather produced from the longhorn cattle and the deer roaming the Sussex-based project.

Images from left to right: Behind-the-scenes in the Bert Frank factory; Mixed Metals at work in their studio; Bill Amberg Studio x Knepp Estate, photo by David Cleveland.