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studio sustainable matter is a material-based design and consultancy studio working interdisciplinary in the field of tension between product design, spatial design and research. 

We explore and reimagine alternative materials in the context of the climate crisis and aim for „design that matters“ – projects that create value and have a positive social and ecological impact.

We investigate the possibilities and boundaries of locally sourced materials and raw matter through co-creative processes and craft-oriented design – a combination of local traditional knowledge and innovative design methods. By navigating the tension between old and new,  vernacular design and highly innovative materials, novel solutions are created.

We drive towards a new understanding, perception and use of materials.


Founder Melissa Acker studied Industrial Design at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design, where she graduated 2019 with a diploma (German Master’s equivalent). During her studies, she took part in several inter- and transdisciplinary projects in cooperation with other universities as well as NGOs like Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Nigeria. In the summer of 2018 she was a student assistant at the Chair of Urban Design at ABK Stuttgart and undertook research trips including transdisciplinary workshops in Lagos (Nigeria) and Addis Abeba (Ethiopia).

She gained working experience as a product- and spatial designer as well as sustainable materials manager in international companies as well as local design agencies, like Festo AG, Adam Opel AG, IDAID and DFROST. 

For several years she has been in charge of researching and implementing sustainable alternatives in the retail sector and has been a driving force in the development of the „Sustainably Made Spaces“ sustainability label for retail projects by VMM (European Visual Marketing Merchandising Association). 

Since 2021 she is academic associate at HFT – Hochschule für Technik (University of Applied Sciences) Stuttgart in the study program IMIAD – International Master of Interior-Architectural Design, where she is researching and teaching on the topic of sustainable materials in architecture and design. 

Her goal is to increase the ecological awareness and to impart material knowledge. She wants to advance the (experimental) research on alternative materials and show evaluation criteria in relation to different sustainability aspects. This knowledge is applied in conception and supervision of material-based seminars and design projects.

Her work has been published in several internationally renowned print- and online magazines such as md magazine, Konsept Projeler – Concepts & Projects, AIT, designboom and baunetz CAMPUS, has won international awards focused on sustainable design, and has been exhibited multiple times.

Melissa Acker passes on her experience in lectures, workshops, seminars and circular design consultancy. 

Awards & Nominations

2024 – competitionline CAMPUS Award 2024: Engere Wahl Fakultätsprojekte

2022 – 10. Recycling-Designpreis | Ausgezeichnete Ideen 

2021 – New Material Design Competition by KHALIL | Winner Best Industrial Material

2021 – Creative Conscience Award | Winner Silver Award

2018 – Green Concept Award for „MAJA“ | Selection

2018 – Green Concept Award for „leftover materials“ | Selection 

2018 – Creative Conscience Award | Shortlist

2018 – Competitionline Campus Award | Winner

2017 – campusWELTbewerb | Winner of the year at the Award for Global Sustainability at Universities in Baden-Württemberg


studio projects:

02-04/2023 – MAKK | Museum of Applied Arts Cologne: „Between The Trees“ – Urban Greenery, Art and Design

11/2022 – Galerie Nord | Kunstverein Tiergarten: exhibition „10. RecyclingDesignpreis – Ausgezeichnete Ideen“

11/2022 – KHALIL Design Week | Material Hall: LEAF MATERIALS

06-10/2022 – Marta Herford – Museum für Kunst, Architektur, Design: Ausstellung „10. RecyclingDesignpreis – Ausgezeichnete Ideen“

06-09/2022 – KHALIL Design Week | Material Hall: New Material Design Competition by KHALIL Design / Got Talent, Young Professionals

2018 – Green Concept Award @ Designers‘ Open Leipzig

2017 – „REGATTA“ as part of the exhibition series „Design now!“ at EnBW City Headquarter Stuttgart

2014-2018 – RUNDGANG @ Stuttgart State Academy of Arts and Design

teaching projects:

06/2024 – Denk und Macherei, HFT Stuttgart

02/2024 – Mycelium experiments, exhibition HFTLab HFT Stuttgart

10/2023 – BEST OF 23, HFT Stuttgart

07/2023 – Einblick / Ausblick 2023, Muthesius Kunsthochschule Kiel

06/2023 – Innenansichten 2023, HFT Stuttgart

05/2023 – interzum cologne 2023

03/2023 – Blickfang Designmesse Stuttgart


01/2024 – panel discussion on „bio-circular materials in interior architecture and design“ together with Thomas Salzmann (Zuber Salzmann Studio, Zürich), Martin Huwiler (HSLU Luzern) and Prabitha Urwyler (Innosuisse, Bern) moderated and organized by Pascal Johanssen (Direktorenhaus Berlin) at the Swiss Embassy in Berlin

05/2022 – lecture „reduce – reuse – recycle – rethink: sustainable materials in architecture and design“ @ KHALIL Design Week

2019-2021 – Monthly Green Material @ DFROST Retail Identity

since 2021: several teaching projects at HFT Hochschule für Technik (University of Applied Sciences) Stuttgart, Istanbul Technical University and Muthesius Kunsthochschule Kiel

selected clients & collaborators

publications & press