New at Lumens: Mater (It's Not Your Father’s Danish Design Company)

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“Mater means ‘mother’ in Latin. The name is the daily reminder of our small contribution to preventing the challenges ‘mother earth’ faces. Design influences how we as humans live our lives; it shapes values, culture and society. Unfortunately, we are increasingly aware that the choices made during design processes often have environmental consequences. However, as a manufacturer, we have the opportunity to rethink dubious practices and create ethical and sustainable design that minimizes adverse social and environmental impacts.”
– Henrik Marstrand, CEO & founder of Mater

Wise words, and a kind of design modis operandi that Mater has employed ever since Marstrand founded the company in 2006. Based in Virum, Denmark (about 10 miles north of Copenhagen), Mater has done its utmost over the past 10 years to combine fine design with environmental and social ethics.

Personally, I find such a sense of responsibility–and especially the level of creativity that evolves because of it–pretty sexy.

But how exactly does Mater fulfill its mission in practice? One, they use only certified wood and otherwise sustainable materials. Besides ensuring ethical practices of manufacturing, such materials inform the actual designs; Mater shows off the quality of the wood, leather, glass and metal they use by keeping the forms simple. Then, they recycle what they don’t use and utilize low energy LED light sources.

Secondly, they make sure that their furniture and lighting pieces are so well designed and crafted that there’s no way they’ll wind up in a landfill. Yes, the forms are simple to show off the materials, but visual interest also comes from the specific design details. An unexpected curve, an almost impossibly sharp point, a subtle metallic flash–it’s that as well as a piece’s overall tone and texture that sets it apart as Mater.

Yes, very sexy.

It was difficult to narrow it down, but here are a few of my favorite Mater pieces:

Terho Pendants

terho_boxsystem_05The Terho Pendants are just cute. They are made out of alder wood and mouth-blown white opal glass to resemble acorns. (In fact, “terho” means acorns in Finnish.) The glow they provide when lit gives them almost a magical quality.

Shell Chairs

Mater_dining_01_125dpiThe curved embrace of the range of Shell Dining Chairs, Shell Lounge Chairs and Shell Barstools gives sitters a unique sense of comfort and security. Meanwhile, the angles of the wood bases give you a sense of movement, almost like the chairs are alive and ready to go for a gallop.

Mater High & Low Stools

Mater_highstools_09_125dpiWhen it comes to hospitality environments, these are by far the most often specified furniture pieces that Mater produces. This is due primarily to their versatility; the High and Low Stools come in a wide range of wood or metal bases. Meanwhile, the sumptuous leather seats make them super-comfortable.

Like I said: sexy. Shop the Mater lighting and furniture collection at

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