Transforming materials design into a social movement Talk

The New Materialists

Ground-breaking designers, Jack Herring, Lewis Hornby, Fernando LaPosse and Bethany Williams, alongside a panel of industry experts, debate how and why social impact should be an integral focus in material design today.

What to expect

Arts Foundation 2020 AFFA finalists are Jack Herring, Lewis Hornby, Fernando LaPosse and Bethany Williams

With products ranging from furniture, food, fashion and electrical, the four groundbreaking finalists of the Arts Foundation’s 2020 Materials Evolution Award discuss the challenges they face building a business with social innovation at its heart. How can a sustainable social outcome be the context for all materials design? How do designers connect social and environmental problems so materials don’t solve one problem but create another? Where will investment and support come from to help sustainable businesses scale fast?

Joined by materials consultant Caroline Till from Franklin Till, founder of sustainable e-commerce platform Mamoq, Madeline Petrow, and Professor Rebecca Earley who established the Centre for Circular Design at UAL, the talk will provide insight and spark debate into how and why social impact is an integral focus in material design today. The event will be chaired by design writer Monika Parrinder.

Bethany Williams Image taken in San Patrignano. Styling Lee Trigg. Photography Amber

Jack Herring

Totomoxtle tiles by Fernando LaPosse

Jelly Drops by Lewis Hornby

Booking information

Members: £5
Adult: £12
Student/concession: £8


Jack Herring

Jack Herring is a technology innovator whose work centres around electronic waste. Working with his company Jiva, Herring has invented Soluboard, a fully dissolvable material which drastically improves the recycling possibilities of precious metals and will be used to manufacture the world’s first fully recyclable Printed Circuit Boards.

Lewis Hornby

Lewis Hornby is a product designer trained in Innovation Design & Civil Engineering. He has used his creative approach to tackle issues ranging from earthquake safety in developing countries to urban air pollution. Recently he has created a new product inspired by his grandma’s struggle with dehydration, a potentially fatal problem for dementia sufferers.

Fernando LaPosse

Fernando LaPosse follows the rule of tampering with his natural materials as little as possible from seed to final product. One of his projects, a veneer made with husks of corn, has allowed the reintroduction of native varieties and helped indigenous Mexican communities return to traditional agriculture.

Bethany Williams

From collaborating with female prisoners to using recycled wool and denim from Kent, fashion designer Bethany Williams explores innovative design solutions to sustainability while using fashion as a tool to empower marginalised communities.

Rebecca Earley

Rebecca Earley is Professor of Sustainable Fashion Textile Design and Co-Director of Centre for Circular Design at Chelsea College of Arts. Rebecca works with organisations to embed sustainable and circular design research within corporate culture; clients include H&M, Filippa K, and VF Corporation.

Monika Parrinder

Monika Parrinder (Chairman) is a design writer and educator, with a focus on design futures. She is based at Central Saint Martins and is a Trustee of the Arts Foundation

Madeline Petrow

Madeline Petrow’s background was in sustainable business and International Development, and it was through this lens that she discovered the destructive nature of the fashion industry’s globalised supply chains. She launched MAMOQ, an online sustainable fashion platform with over 100 independent fashion labels, valuing ethics and sustainability, as much as style and design.

Caroline Till

Caroline Till is co-founder of FranklinTill, a research agency specialising in design, colour and material innovation for sustainable futures. Caroline is also co-author of Radical Matter: Rethinking materials for a sustainable future, and editor of Viewpoint Design and Viewpoint Colour magazines.

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Background Image: Fernando LaPosse