Reinventing classic danish design with recycled ocean plastic

We all saw Blue Planet and the heart-breaking footage of turtles and whale calfs caught up in discarded fishing nets. So it's gratifying to see one brand is doing something positive about it.

Mater, the sustainable Danish design furniture manufacturer has launched the Ocean Collection, a new table and chair range that reimagines an original 1955 design by making it in a material made from ocean plastic waste.

The original designers, Jørgen and Nanna Ditzel themselves used organic designs and innovative materials within their products, and with this new collection Mater aims to continue their inventive approach to design.

Dennie Ditzel, Nanna and Jørgen Ditzel’s daughter, has been overseeing the Ditzel archive since Nanna’s death in 2005. She says her mother ‘was fascinated by new materials and always experimenting with them, so she would definitely approve of this new iteration which is very much in her spirit.’

The innovative business model motivates fishermen across the world to dispose of their discarded fishing nets through the only recycling plant for fishing nets in the world, located in Denmark.

Mater searched for a design that could fit this pioneering sustainable production method and partnered with Dennie Ditzel. Together they searched the archives for a design that could work using ocean plastic waste and the result was the Ocean Collection.

One single Ocean chair uses 960g of ocean plastic waste.

The Ocean Collection has a light structure with repeated slats and metal frames, and is suitable for indoor and outdoor use. The collection honours the United Nations Global Goals of sustainable development, pushing the design industry towards a greener agenda.

The original design from 1955 was made up of a steel frame and timber veneer. The reissues have been scaled up by 5% to accommodate modern proportions, but otherwise the form remains the same.

The table and chair’s simple shape and lightness are perfectly suited to the use of ocean plastic – and are a step towards managing and reusing our limited resources for future generations. We think Ellen MacArthur would approve.

Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites

A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written  for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.