MATER EARTH GALLERY
Henrik Marstrand of Mater explains what inspired him to launch his furniture and accessories company
Can you tell us a little about your background? I’m a graduate of Copenhagen Business School and I used to wear a suit and tie and fly all over the world in corporate jobs. I’m an entrepreneur, it’s in my genes, so I wanted to create my own adventure with my own money and my own strategy. It was that point in life, I was turning 40 and either you do it or you don’t. As a Dane, when you travel you get asked about various things – one is always design, which is something with global appeal, so that’s the route I took.
What’s the philosophy behind Mater? Being a business guy, I sat down and analysed the market to find out if there was something I could do that no one else did. We looked at other industries like food and clothing, where ethical and sustainable products were becoming popular. In the world of furniture and accessories, no one had done it from scratch so we decided to produce things ethically right from the start and get a foothold in that niche. We launched Mather in 2006.
How did you grow the brand? If you come from outside of the industry you need to create a network, so I worked with Thomas Lykke, who was an interiors editor at Wallpaper* magazine. He helped me bridge the gap between myself and creative people, including designers Space Copenhagen and Todd Bracher, who were part of the initial collection.
Tell us more about the sustainability aspect. For a year and a half I travelled the world looking for craftspeople and materials that could support the sustainable philosophy. We found ways to use materials such as recycled aluminium and waste mango wood, and now we’re moving into materials like recycled plastic and glass and even paper made from elephant poo, which we use in our lighting range. Mater was also one of the first companies in Denmark to get full
FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification on all the wood we use. As a Scandinavian brand it’s very dear to us, and we can trace a chair to the forest the wood was cut from, as well as where replacement trees are planted. The designers we work with understand that it’s not just about a product, it’s more a complete project including where the material has come from, or a new way of using that material – the whole concept.
Why did you feel it was time to open a shop? Initially we marketed our products online and through other retailers, then a year and a half ago we decided to open our own stores to create a brand experience, and in order to meet our customers. In 2017 we found an exciting location in an old renovated car repair shop in Copenhagen, then in London we wanted somewhere we would be near architects and designers. The shop in Clerkenwell was the perfect space, with the opportunity to do renovations, and the new interior was designed by Eva Harlou, head of Earth Studio, which is Mater’s own design studio. London has a global reach as so many projects are designed and developed here, and the clientele are open to bigger and braver pieces so it’s a great place to showcase the range and tell our story in the UK.
Mater Earth Gallery in Clerkenwell (this picture); Coco Triple pendant in White (centre); Double bottle and Handle vase (inset, far right).
Lathe lamp; Space Copenhagen Accent table (above). Winston daybed (below). Bowl Wall Edition table (inset).
Mater Earth Gallery, 020 7278 2226, materdesign.com.