A chair is a crucial piece of furniture in our homes, as we spend much of our day sitting on them. Whether we’re working, eating, or relaxing, a chair should be comfortable, ergonomic, and visually appealing. The Mat Chair by Normann Copenhagen embodies these qualities with its unique and innovative design, crafted from fascinating materials.

Designers Foersom & Hiort-Lorenzen collaborated with furniture brand Normann Copenhagen to launch a collection of plant-based chairs at Stockholm Design Week. The Mat furniture line features two distinct chairs: one crafted from hemp, a variety of cannabis plant, and the other from a blend of hemp and eelgrass, a marine plant similar to seaweed. These fascinating biomaterials replace traditional injection-molded plastic, resulting in a shell chair supported by powder-coated steel legs.

Around 2008, Foersom & Hiort-Lorenzen began experimenting with hemp. “Now, some 20 years later, the hemp material we’ve developed with Normann Copenhagen is more sustainable, sturdier, and aesthetically pleasing compared to previous prototypes,” stated Hiort-Lorenzen. “It’s truly a unique product.”

The chairs were developed with hemp experts from the Danish Technological Institute. Instead of using hemp leaves, the shells are made from hemp stems, typically considered waste by farms. Eelgrass fibers are mixed with dried eelgrass to make the eelgrass chair. The hemp and eelgrass fibers are turned into a sheet material and shaped with a special compression machine. A “bico binder” is added to make the chairs easily recyclable.

Normann Copenhagen’s Chief Technology Officer, Søren Stryhn Petersen, highlighted the appeal of using a bio-based binder to reduce oil usage. However, ensuring recyclability has been a priority from the project’s start.