Hen­rik Marstrand of Mater ex­plains what in­spired him to launch his fur­ni­ture and ac­ces­sories com­pany

Homes & Gardens - - NEWS -

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, ma­ter­de­

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