Mat Chair - Challenging material norms


After years of extensive research, prototyping, and testing, we proudly present Mat—a chair collection that ingeniously leverages highly renewable, durable materials of hemp and eelgrass, a type of seaweed, as superior alternatives to traditional 3D shell chair materials. Hence the name, Mat, a reference to the material innovation at the core of the design.


An innovative production technique

For years, the furniture industry has seen numerous iterations of the same type of chair: the plastic shell chair. In the late 1990’s, renowned Danish designer Peter Hiort-Lorenzen, of design studio Foersom & Hiort-Lorenzen, embarked on what would be a decades-long mission to create a more sustainable alternative to the plastic shell chair. Pioneering these production techniques required extensive re­search, development, and testing, given the absence of prior knowledge or precedent.



Peter explains: “In 2005, we presented the first prototypes of the chair. Although an initial success, the timing wasn’t right. In 2008, after years of research, we started testing with one of the strongest natural fibers available: hemp. Now, some 20 years later, the hemp material we have developed in collaboration with Normann Copenhagen is more responsible, a lot sturdier and with a higher aesthetic appeal than any of the previous prototypes. It’s a one-of-its-kind product.”



The result is Mat, a conventional chair design with an exceptional approach to materials. Using a minimalistic, ever relevant silhouette with a focus on ergonomic comfort, the collection encompasses numerous variations of dining chairs and barstools.



Harnessing the power of hemp and eelgrass

The shell of the Mat Chair is innovatively crafted using hemp fibers. The collection is also available in a version with added eelgrass, a type of seaweed, essentially offering a darker color variation of the chair as an addition to the lighter version which contains hemp only.


The materials constitute the very essence of the design. Not only do they provide a more responsible product, they also play a key role in the aesthetic of the design, highlighting the natural beauty and tactility of the materials.




Hemp, a rapidly renewable resource, has been used for thousands of years, particularly favorized for its resilience, durability and versatility. It is widely recognized for its eco-friendly attributes, requiring minimal water and zero pesticides or fertilizers. It absorbs carbon dioxide, making it a tool for carbon sequestration, resulting in a lower CO2 footprint of the final chair product. In addition, hemp grows at enormous speed, up to four meters in one season, allowing it to be harvested once or twice a year. The entire plant is used, each part of it for different industries, ensuring as little waste as possible.




Due to its immense strength and the added benefit of CO2 absorption, eelgrass, a type of seaweed, is highly durable and has a lower environmental impact compared to other materials. Eelgrass plays an extremely important role in the underwater ecosystem, so instead of removing it from its natural habi­tat, we collect the eelgrass that naturally washes ashore along the coasts of Denmark. For Mat Chair, the dried eelgrass, in combination with the milled hemp fibers, offers a grainy expression, exposing the natural beauty and tactility of the materials.




Designed for circularity

The name Mat is a reference to the material innovation at the core of the design. Rooted in the princi­ples of reduce, re-use, and recycle, the Mat collection aims to revolutionize conventional furniture production through minimizing the chair’s environmental impact, repurposing production waste, and facilitating recycling at the end of its life. Designed for disassembly and recycling, the components of the Mat Chair can be recycled into new productions for a fully circular life cycle.




Mat Chair is primarily crafted from hemp fibers, harvested from near-market farmers. Another variant includes added eelgrass, a type of seaweed which is collected from the coastline surrounding Denmark.



After harvesting, the hemp stems and eelgrass are sorted at the production facility. For the milling process, the hemp stems, eelgrass and recycled Mat Chair shells are turned into scraps, ensuring a homogenous material composition and surface expression.



The milled fibers are then mixed with a special, fully recyclable binder designed for strength and durability. The mix is transformed into sheets, which ultimately will become the shell of the chair.



The sheets are compressed into chair shells. An expertly engineered process which ensures that the materials’ ability to be recycled are not compromised. Hereafter, the shells are expertly cut to size, its edges meticulously hand-sanded, and its surface oiled by hand using a VOC-free linseed oil that ensures a lasting, durable finish.



The result is the Mat Chair. Designed with circularity at its core, the products can be taken back at the end of their life upon agreement, whereafter they will be disassembled, sorted and re-milled for new products.  



At the production facility in Denmark, scraps from the production of the Mat shells are sorted to be shredded, and then turned into new chairs. In addition, this is where the chairs, both the shell and the steel legs, at the end of their life, can be disassembled and reused for new productions.



A wide-ranging collection designed for a diversity of spaces

Mat Chair collection includes a dining chair with two shell typologies, a barstool in two heights, a bar chair in two heights and a bar armchair in two heights, all available with a hemp shell or a hemp shell with added eelgrass, as well as with front or full upholstery.



The base is crafted using powder coated steel and is available in two timeless colors of Black or Cream. The wide-ranging nature of the collection enables the chair to cater to a diversity of spaces from restaurants to educational facilities to hotel lobbies as well as in private residential settings.