Material innovation and its potential for eliminating waste and pollution are the core themes of a digital panel discussion next Tuesday, as part of the London Design Festival’s Global Design Forum.

The panel features design leaders across multiple disciplines: offering her curatorial perspective is Paola Antonelli, senior curator at the department of architecture and design at MoMA, winner of this year’s London Design Medal, and joint guest editor (as co-founder of Design Emergency, alongside Alice Rawsthorn) of the October 2020 issue of Wallpaper*. Antonelli brings expertise from her longstanding investigations into restorative design, which culminated in the ‘Broken Nature’ exhibition at the XXII Triennale di Milano last year.

Paola Antonelli at the Architecture and Design Study Centre at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Photographed by Molly Matalon for the Febuary 2019 issue of Wallpaper*

Also at the forefront of material innovation is designer Neri Oxman, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Mediated Matter Group. Oxman has dedicated her career to harnessing, hacking and augmenting nature in speculative projects such as silkworm architecture and 3D-printed glass. Her ‘material ecology’ approach, which brings together organic design, material science and digital fabrication technology, was the subject of a mid-career retrospective at MoMA earlier this year, curated by Antonelli.

Neri Oxman, as photographed by Noah Kalina in the October 2018 issue of Wallpaper*

As founding partner of architecture practice Snøhetta, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen is an important voice in social and environmental sustainability. Beyond their commitment to energy-positive buildings that embrace material innovation, Snøhetta has also taken on notable research projects, starting with Plast (which aims to shift the public’s attitude towards used plastic, from regarding it as a waste to seeing it as a valuable resource) and now expanding into clay. His participation in the panel reflects the role that a new material philosophy can play in the built environment.

Kjetil Traedal Thorsen photographed in the curved paper passage of the Holzweiler flagship store on Prinsens Gate, Oslo. Photographed for the Wallpaper* September 2019 issue. Photography: Ivar Kvaal

Joining them is Ivy Ross, vice president of hardware design at Google. Having pledged to incorporate recycled materials into all ‘Made by Google’ hardware products by 2022, Ross is a key advocate for Silicon Valley’s transition to a more circular economy, a shining example for corporate leaders as they contemplate the consequences of our current material-driven culture.

Google’s Ivy Ross in the exhibition ’A Space For Being’ at Milan Design Week 2019, furnished with Muuto pieces, including a series of ‘Framed’ mirrors by Anderssen & Voll, and featuring cast paper walls by Paper Factor. Photography: Kelsey McClellan, as featured in the May 2019 issue of Wallpaper*

Moderated by Wallpaper* Editor-in-Chief Sarah Douglas, the conversation will touch on the shift from degenerative to regenerative design; the ways in which different materials can be made ‘circular’; decision-making around material trade-offs; and the role of the designer in shaping a new material vision.

The talk is organised by the London Design Festival, enterprise software company SAP, and The Ellen Macarthur Foundation, whose mission is to develop and promote the idea of a circular economy. It is free of charge to the public, pre-registration is required here. §