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“Through LAB I aspire to boost the circular economy”

Simone de Waart is the founder and Creative director of Material Sense. In 2014 she initiated the foundation Material Sense LAB, a sister (foundation) of Material Sense. Three questions on materials, possibilities and more….

Why did you decide to create Material Sense LAB? “We thought the gap between ideas and practice needed to be bridged. Many companies are developing new materials and sustainable applications, but there still is too little connection. The circular economy asks for a new approach, which still has to emerge/to be refined. We want to be a driving force; to invent the wheel and learn from it. We try to do this in projects in which we do not only develop materials, but also design the application, the distribution channels and new business models. The basis is always putting material back into the cycle. We do this using the research triangle: research – design – industry.”

What are the results so far? “We’re experiencing a lot of support and enthusiasm. Different projects are blossoming, like the introduction of the bio-based coin for a music venue and a project about the reuse of materials within a housing corporation. Thanks to concrete examples and projects, useful experience is gained and the sharing of knowledge starts. The network is growing. At the beginning of next year we are holding a national symposium. We are positive about the future. Our planet is stressed, but there are many chances. I want to tempt and invite people to join us in thinking about these as challenges.”

You’re trained as a designer. Where does this passion for materials come from? “A lot of work is to be done. We are transitioning from an exhausting economy to a sustainable and circular one. Materials are determining for a design, they play a crucial part. I was grappled by all facets of new materials: the possibilities, their properties but also the aesthetics. A material has to be translated into aesthetic products that people will want to keep and cherish. This too is sustainable thinking.”

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