Purva Chawla and Adele Orcajada from Material Driven
On the sofa with

Lockdown Landscape from Texas & Bilbao

June 08, 2020
Purva Chawla and Adele Orcajada, Directors of MaterialDriven
What they do:
Architectural Materials

How are you finding lockdown? 

Purva: I am locked down in Dallas with my husband. We squabble over who gets the better, quieter desk space in the house, try to avoid overlapping Zoom calls, and cook together to de-stress. So many professional, creative and personal opportunities have been unveiled, and there is a real chance to stop, contemplate and make change.

Adele: I was in my hometown, Bilbao, during a work trip, so I’ve set up camp with my parents. It has been an incredible opportunity to reconnect with my roots and heritage, research new materials, and engage in unique and wonderful conversations with designers, artists and scientists across the globe.


What are you reading, watching and working on?

Purva: I’ve just started reading Michelle Obama’s book ‘Becoming’, which I think speaks to the power of resilience and great communication, but also reminds us of a better time in the world. On the personal front, I’ve been working on the Samsung X Dezeen ‘Out of the Box’ Competition, which is based on the re-use of cardboard packaging material.

At MaterialDriven, Adele and I have been working on some research-heavy consulting projects for consumer brands, and some hospitality projects that have kept us engaged and excited.


Adele: I’m reading a book called ‘Being Material’ published by The MIT Press which explores the many ways of being material in the digital age. It’s incredibly relevant for these times, especially for us at MaterialDriven as we are aware that the sensorial engagement with materials will probably have to change and transform in the near future.

Apart from planning future exhibitions and our consultancy work, I’ve reconnected with my background as an accessories designer, and I’m really proud of the knitted handbag I just finished!


How do you think the design sector will pivot post-covid?  Has anything good come from it?

Purva: There will be a greater appreciation of what we have taken for granted till now – materials, objects and spaces. Large brands may take a more deep-rooted interest in sustainability, and individually we may consider health and wellbeing in a more meaningful way in what we create or advocate for.

Adele: One of the key changes will be the increased awareness of the importance of working with nature and not against it. Designers and makers will now take more time to understand biodesign and biomimicry and will strive to incorporate regenerative and healthy materials into their work.


If you could travel anywhere today, where would it be and why?

Purva: I would go to Italy as my family has a special connection to the country and professionally I admire its vibrant love for design. I long to be back at the Venice Biennale or Milan Design Week, and soak up the energy and wealth of knowledge and talent they offer.

Adele: I’d go back to London to check in on the MaterialDriven collection! There is something about having all the materials around me that is uniquely inspiring.


What’s the first thing you are going to do when lockdown ends?

Purva: I am looking forward to being back in London, brainstorming and planning with Adele in person, with a coffee in our hands.

Adele: The simple pleasure of sitting on the terrace of a café enjoying a coffee and watching people go by.