Open-source knowledge platform for nature-based materials

Providing open data on how to make materials that nourish local economies and ecologies, using abundant local biomass ingredients.

Materiom is an open access platform for creating sustainably-sourced biomaterials, made from locally-abundant natural ingredients. The project supports companies, cities, and communities in creating and selecting materials sourced from locally abundant biomass that are part of a regenerative circular economy.
  • Partners and supporters: Centre for Bits and Atoms; FAB City; Greenlab; Ellen Macarthur Foundation; FABLAB Santiago; FAB Foundation; LABVA; Kickstarter; IDEO; Diseno Distribuido; Crafts Council; Cab Dyn Complexity Centre; Atlas of the Future; IAAC; FAB Textiles; Circular Design Guide.

  • Date: Ongoing


Learning from nature

The world is extracting and producing more than the planet can support. Since 1950 humanity has produced over eight billion tons of plastic, only 9% of which has been recycled. Yet every year, terrestrial and marine habitats produce vast quantities of materials, the tonnage of which far exceed human production and 100% of which is biodegradable and renewable.


Creating collective knowledge on sustainable alternatives

Alongside its partners, the Metabolic Institute incorporated Materiom in 2016. The project leverages collective intelligence to provide open-source knowledge on sustainable material alternatives to finite resources. Society has access to thousands of natural materials and biomass. The potential combinations and recipes are myriad, and we have barely scratched the surface on what kind of new, innovative sustainable materials we could reliably create. Materiom aims to provide both a platform to experiment and a database of open knowledge. By making this knowledge open, we accelerate the development of new materials, and lower barriers to entry in materials markets around the world.


An open-source recipe book for sustainable materials

Materiom is an open-source library, with recipes for materials made from abundant biomass that can be locally sourced. Recipes use green chemistry methods and nutrients such as sugars, proteins, fats and common minerals, making them biodegradable by design. The properties of our materials are measured scientifically, so they can be compared to materials on the market. Data can be used to identify sustainable alternatives for product design. Recipes are contributed by our international community of designers, scientists, engineers and artists. They are licensed as open source to encourage rapid advancement and widespread use. Materiom Hubs are centers of regional expertise, creating a feedback loop between local sourcing and market application, and our international network for materials R&D.


"For billions of years, terrestrial and marine habitats have thrived in producing vast quantities of materials, all without landfill or waste. It’s time we took notes."

- Liz Corbin, research director and head of the Metabolic Institute

Research Director


For more information about this project, please get in touch.