Mat Chair

Mat chair by Foersom & Hiort-Lorenzen for Norman Copenhagen
Mat hemp chair by Johannes Foersom and Peter Hiort-Lorenzen for Norman Copenhagen. Image credit: Norman Copenhagen.

The Mat Chair features a shell made from hemp stems and eelgrass and powder coasted steel legs. The lighter version of the shell contains hemp only. The collection encompasses numerous variations of dining chairs and barstools.

Launched during Stockholm Design Week 2024 the design is a result of a collaboration between Foersom & Hiort-Lorenzen and Norman Copenhagen. Johannes Foersom and Peter Hiort-Lorenzen are celebrated Scandinavian designers, with an impressive portfolio of furniture creations developed during their 50-year partnership. The designers share an interest in exploring the use of plant fibres as a replacement for plastics. According to the manufacturer, the designer developed prototypes of chairs in 2005 and started trialling the use of hemp from 2008. The final material was developed in collaboration with the Danish Technological Institute and has resulted in a sturdy material with higher aesthetic appeal compared with previous prototypes.

The Mat (short for materials) chair is the first time Norman Copenhagen has used a bio-based material. A bico binder (PET based) was used instead of a bio-based binder reportedly to make it easier to recycle the chairs at the end of their life. Recycling is also encouraged though design for disassembly. A VOC-free linseed oil is used to finish the shells. It should be noted however, that recycling can only be undertaken by the manufacturer so end-users would be required to return the product to Denmark for this to occur.

The chair achieved a below average score in the ERPR analysis as, in addition to having to be returned to the manufacturer to be recycled it is shipped in single units fully assembled. The chair weighs slightly above average and the legs are made from steel. Only two-colour choices and two variants of the shell are available, reducing the score awarded for appeal.