Submaterial Lobby Installation

After several years without a centralized front entrance to greet our clients, a front lobby experience has been a priority for our new space. The Submaterial team produced an experiential design incorporating our business partnerships, company values, and conceptual intrigue.

The double height lobby begged for an installation that would tie the two levels together visually, with natural light and vertical movement being key. As the company has grown and evolved since 2006, we’ve held fast to the concepts of curiosity and exploration.

Diane Ackerman is an influential poet and essayist whose work has enriched the thoughts and concepts of Submaterial products over the years. She writes on notions of nature and creativity, as well as works of nonfiction that

“urge us to live in the moment, to wake up to nature’s everyday miracles.”

The quote we selected for our double-height wall reads, “Wonder is the heaviest element on the periodic table. Even a tiny fleck of it stops time.”

Our studio embraces playful creativity and curious minds, encouraging a collective wonder via continuous exploration. This quote was the design seed driving the vision for the rest of the space.


The large laminated cardboard sphere delicately sits aloft the lobby’s half wall, intended to be reminiscent of scientific forms and playing off Diane’s quote regarding the periodic table. Each of the five rings is made using ten layers of cardboard. The sturdy sculpture acts as visual gravity, drawing immediate attention when entering the room.


The room is styled with furniture and accessories from Muuto (couch, table), Herman Miller (pillows with patterns by Alexander Girard), and the Submaterial Index Dimensional Wallcovering sold exclusively through our partner company, FilzFelt. Our new wordmark is secured to the wall in a deep red, which was made and installed by SignPlex.

In addition, our team utilized post-production material to craft an original Walnut credenza, introducing another natural material to the space and incorporating a surface to display sculptural items. Adjacent to the lobby installation, we have a bike rack which highlights our team’s commitment to the environment and alternate transit options (and of course, health!).

We’re incredibly proud of the first iteration of our front lobby and look forward to the future editions and transformations with new products and themes over the coming years. The beautiful photographs of the lobby were taken by talented photographer and friend, Patrick Coulie.

Come visit our studio in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  We would love to give you a tour.

Submaterial Wool Felt at Hummingbird Art Camp

Hummingbird Music Camp

For over sixty years, Hummingbird Music Camp has been giving elementary and middle school age children a place to learn and grow in their musical and creative talents. The structured environment gives young campers the opportunity to enjoy fresh mountain air while going on hikes, dancing, swimming in the river, fishing, and of course creating music.

hummingbird music camp logo

The camp is one week (offered for all 9 weeks of summer) in the Jemez Mountains, encouraging students to grow as individuals and as members of a team, while also gaining confidence in their musical abilities.

Hummingbird Art Camp

Since starting the Hummingbird Music Camp, they have since developed Hummingbird Art Camp and Hummingbird Chess Camp. Hummingbird Art Camp is intended to

“expand their creativity by undertaking an assortment of projects with diverse media. Each child works with professional art teachers who inspire ingenuity and creativity.”

Wool Felt Offcuts Influencing Art

mosaic wolf mask made from wool felt

While seeking avenues to get rid of our wool felt scraps, we’ve come across talented artists with experience working with various mediums. A few months ago, we had the pleasure of meeting Sarah Voglewede, a local artist who has been teaching at the Hummingbird Art Camp for ten years.

Each year, Sarah finds something new for the students to create in order to keep them inspired and further their creative knowledge. In the past, they have done projects like painting murals, crafted woven wall-hangings, carved balsa sculptures, made self-portraits on wood panels, and many more.

collage of students wearing their handmade animal masks

This year, Sarah had her students make over-sized masks with recycled cardboard, paper mache, paint, and various other materials to finalize the detailing. Submaterial provided wool felt off-cuts and we were pleasantly surprised to see photos on Instagram a few weeks later.

The Hummingbird Art Camp and the Hummingbird Music Camp ended their week-long activities with a collaborative (visual and musical) performance of “In The Jungle” and “The NeverEnding Story.”

handmade paper mache animal masks

Wool Felt Availability

Our studio handcrafts wool felt Wallcoverings and other design accessories. During the fabrication process, we generate large quantities of scrap material and are dedicated to finding avenues to keep the felt out of the landfill. If you or someone you know can utilize the material, please contact us!

Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity

“A hand up, not a hand-out”

habitat for humanity logo

Through Habitat for Humanity‘s new-construction program, partner-families and members of the community come together to build homes from the ground up. Partner-families purchase the homes provided by Habitat, but with a zero-interest mortgage at close to half the going market-rate in the area. The application process is extensive in order to provide the right families with this opportunity (based on need, goals, and financial literacy).

On-site, there are full-time staff and full-time volunteers to ensure new volunteers (like us!) have the proper training and guidance to complete the various daily tasks. On average, Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity finishes six houses per year via local funding and volunteer hours. Learn more about Habitat for Humanity monetary donations and volunteer options.

Submaterial at Habitat

Last weekend our team spent seven hours on-site in Santa Fe building a home for a local family of four. Upon arrival, we saw the rain-washed concrete slab which had many of us wondering how an entire single-story home would fit on such a small footprint. We were pleasantly surprised to witness the division of space happen as we put up the wood framing, and contrary to what we expected, the slab looked larger as the framing went up.

group photo at santa fe habitat for humanity construction site

Our team of eleven was split into three groups; two groups were on framing and the other was responsible for accurately copying the architectural floor-plans onto the slab using blue chalk (you can call those blueprints!).

We were able to secure about 80% of the framing to the slab and completely finished copying the plans to the concrete.

collage of volunteers securing wood framing to concrete slab

Before we left, each of us had the opportunity to sign the framing for the family.  The family will read each encouraging note left by the volunteers prior to their walls being completed. We thought this was really special and took the opportunity to share positive thoughts with the partner-family.

volunteers signing wood framing at the end of the day

Although our team is a group of craftspeople who are accustomed to the art of making, many of us had no experience on a construction site. We had so much fun, each team member expressed the intention to return in the near future.

Veterans Off-Grid

Veterans Off-Grid is a non-profit organization we learned about while on-site last week. Founder Ryan Timmermans was there picking through the material Habitat is unable to utilize in the home-building process. Veterans Off-Grid focuses on providing work and housing for veterans in order to help them reintegrate into society.

“We are an off the grid community living in Earthship-inspired homes thriving without utility bills, mortgages, and roaring bureaucracy. We enjoy the quiet bliss of the Rocky Mountains along the Rio Grande and strive to minimize our impact to the environment.”

This organization also accepts volunteer help and can provide you with knowledge of sustainable housing practices. Our team plans on taking a trip to Carson, NM in the next few months to help support their mission and also grow together as a team. Learn more about joining their volunteer network here.

veterans off grid website photo


New Product Line – Fall Release Sneak Peek

Submaterial Fall Release

After over thirteen years working with clients in the field of commercial design, Submaterial is adding a dynamic line of products for the home. Although it seems like a new branch for the company, Founder + Creative Director David Hamlin began his creative journey with small-scale design objects; we’re coming back to our roots. This means select limited edition pieces are returning as standard products, like the sculptural objects below.

Our team is focused on providing timeless aesthetic and adaptability in the new line. The textural accessories create an enriching presence of color and texture, driven by the value of handcraft and premium materials.

Each sophisticated accessory will offer color and/or size options and a precision that makes even the most critical eye wonder if it could have been crafted by hand (yes, it was!).

Limited Edition Pieces

Twice per year the collection will receive a color update; once for the warmer Spring/Summer months, and again for the cooler Fall /Winter months. Each colorway is being carefully considered and will include seasonal colors. Special items will be marked editions referring to their manufacturing date and season, perfect for design collectors.

The fall product release incorporates materials such as wool felt, vegetable-tanned cowhide, Knoll’s Ultrasuede, reclaimed wood, and ceramics via a partnership with Modern Folk Ware.

Submaterial Brand & Color Naming System

In addition to many new products for the home, Submaterial is amidst a full re-brand. With this process comes a new word-mark, logo, and color palette. To push the branding further and add some fun to our team’s day, we decided to come up with fun and original names for each wool felt color.

For example, we will have a felt color titled Biscochito, a traditional Spanish wedding cookie which originated in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This cinnamon delight is also the state cookie of New Mexico.

Between now and the end of September, you can expect press coverage of these versatile accessories with full color range options and details on product sets. We encourage you to begin coordinating your own order and be ready to pull your favorite items into your shopping cart on September 30th.

For more information, you can email our team at and follow our social media accounts to stay up to date on new product details.


Submaterial Summer Event: MiiR Vacuum Insulated Bottles


Spurring from a tragic accident with life flashing before his eyes, Brian founded MiiR to create something bigger than himself. His goal was to fill the obvious need for a less cumbersome and reusable water bottle, while also making a difference in the world. Learn more about Brian’s story here.

The MiiR products are designed at the Seattle HQ and intended to be minimal, sustainable, functional, and enduring. The company is a certified B-Corporation,  which is awarded to for-profit organizations who “meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.”

“As a certified B corporation it was important for us to be in a space which was designed with environmentally conscious intent and expression. We are in the Brooks Running building which is LEED certified and part of Living Building Pilot program. It has been touted as one of the most efficient commercial buildings in the nation.”

Give Code

Each and every product includes a Give Code, which allows the consumer to see exactly where their $1 donation went and how it is making a difference. Check out their extensive list of projects!

Submaterial Water Bottles

Since we are a team of makers working in a high-end manufacturing environment, aesthetic and function are important elements. We need the ability to close anything we’re drinking from in our production spaces, and it is always a plus when we can stay on brand. We ordered the MiiR 20 oz Wide Mouth and had our word-mark engraved down the side. Each thermos was filled with Cocopotamus chocolate truffles in various flavors. Read more about Cocopotamus on our previous blog post.

Next Time You’re in Seattle!

Headquartered in Seattle, MiiR makes it a point to be a destination and serve the community as a place for people to come together.

“We’ve created a place for people to connect, converse, learn, and grow. We mix MiiR hard goods, superb coffee, a huge selection of beers on tap, food to sustain you, information on the MiiR Give and community. You can shop our entire product line as well as Flagship exclusives. We’re an anchor in our local neighborhood and a place to learn about the broader world. We offer events and seminars from our partners. We are a place to gather before your next ride, walk or run and a spot to cool down and swap stories. For our corporate and community group neighbors, we offer a meeting space for rent.”

Submaterial Summer Event: Cocopotamus

Cocopotamus is operated by a young and ambitions husband and wife duo specializing in chocolate truffles with a wide flavor range. See how they’re made here!

It is worth noting Cocopotamus is the chocolate provider for the Oscars, Golden Globes and Emmy Awards where celebrities pair these chocolates with their favorite wines.

We ordered their truffles for our Submaterial Summer Event, which is a company dinner we put together twice per year. Our event included all 46 of our employees and their plus-one invites. Each employee received a branded MiiR Thermos with a variety of Cocopotamus truffles inside.

While visiting their kitchen to pick up our bulk order, we learned more about a few of their chocolates and where their names came from.

Oopsy Daisy 

Current Cocopotamus owner David Le accidentally made this salted coconut truffle on his first day at Cocopotamus. He was trying to make the Hang Loose truffle, an island coconut dark chocolate flavor. Upon admitting his folly, the previous owner tasted the chocolate, threw in some extra salt, and added it to the collection.

Darth Vegan 

A fun spin on our favorite Sith Lord, the Darth Vegan is a black coffee vegan chocolate truffle with a whole coffee bean on top (yummm).

Lemon Shiver 

This truffle has a sweet and funny name origin related to the original company owner. When he would eat this truffle or any lemon flavor, he would get the shivers from the sour taste.

Naked Hottie 

One of our favorite naming stories; Jason Isaacs (father of Draco Malfoy) made a joke at the Emmy Awards about the original Hottie truffle without a chili coating being a “naked hottie” and the name definitely stuck.

Cocopotamus Mission

This small kitchen has a global reach, intentionally creating flavors from various regions in several countries.

“As human beings, we all crave connection. We need family, friends, and community to make us happy & whole. To make us productive and joyful.

It is our belief that valuing and understanding other cultures can help make the world a better place. For decades we have lived abroad and traveled, meeting people largely through their cuisines & cultures. We’ve shared our own backgrounds and the yummy things we’ve picked up along the way.

The joy of food is how we connect with other people. It’s also how we help connect others to each other.

So our secret mission is simple at heart:

Chocolate, it’s how the world is one.”


Submaterial Summer Event – Vinaigrette


Explora’s Studio Inventivo – Custom Installation

When established in 2006, Submaterial relied heavily on custom product orders for both commercial and residential clients. However, over the past five years, our company has been almost exclusively selling a standard collection of Wallcovering designs. We are grateful for the growth our Wallcoverings have allowed for our company, but we now have an incredible team of creative minds who can take on special projects with more ingenuity than ever before.

With the introduction of our own Territory Managers to market our custom capabilities, we’re able to find those clients. Every custom project we complete gives our team new skills and often paves the way for new product development.

Project Inception

Our most recent custom project for Explora stemmed from an established relationship via material donation to their arts and crafts area. After putting over 30 bags of wool felt scraps to use in almost two years, their team saw a way for us to collaborate on a few custom pieces for their Studio Inventivo exhibit.

Their project management and exhibits team connected with Submaterial in need of a welcoming and sound dampening Study Kiosk. They also wanted a few decorative pieces to tie the rest of the room together.


Our teams collaborated through a series of meetings to establish colors, sizes, and design specifications. Since Explora is local, we didn’t have to create samples or do extensive prototyping, other than the kiosk cover being that it is such a unique custom piece (pictured below).

After agreeing on materials, colors, sizes, and the design, our team began the fabrication process.

Fabrication Process

Our studio is broken into a few departments specializing in different aspects of product design. This custom project went through our Woodshop, Panel Studio, and Sewing Studio. The kiosk was built from plywood in varying thicknesses by our Woodshop crew, then covered with a removable felt sleeve crafted in the Sewing Studio.

The team sewing the kiosk cover used a purple felt with green thread and made it removable with a zipper. Exhibits tend to be up at Explora for 2-5 years, and we want to be sure they can clean it or replace it if damaged during use.

The Wall Panels selected for this exhibit are a custom iteration of our Bulb design with color-blocking and a panel series in our deconstructed Wall Panel 068 design. This panel series was made with purple and yellow felt to tie the purple Study Kiosk to the gray and yellow color-blocked Bulb panel together.


Another benefit of being local is the ability for our team to handle installation. Although we do not technically offer installation services, there are specific cases where it makes sense to have our crew onsite. This project was a combination of a client  purchase and a donation, where we covered a large portion of labor costs for the benefit of a long-term community project. A few team members delivered the custom pieces, and spent a few hours getting the panels hung and the kiosk in the correct location.

Explora & the Finished Exhibit

Explora is a museum focused on hands-on learning of science, engineering, math, and art. The Studio Inventivo exhibit is an upstairs corner dedicated to the art of making and sharing ideas.

“Studio Inventivo is a space at Explora for children and families to use tools and technology to transform familiar materials into projects that highlight the intersections of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). In this space, visitors can design a concept or project idea, create a prototype or test version of their design, and share stories about the process of creating their project through displaying their work or recording a digital story at the Story Kiosk station.”

We stopped in to photograph the exhibit and loved how the Submaterial Wall Panels looked in the space, especially with the natural light and bright yellow truss situated adjacent to Studio Inventivo!

If you are interested in working with the Submaterial team on a custom project, get in touch via email at

A’19 – A Materials Playground

AIA Conference on Architecture


Intended to provide those in the Architecture and Interior Design professions with material and brand options, the AIA Conference on Architecture is “A Materials Playground.” With over 600 booths, manufacturers range from door handles and skylights to landscape design and building-envelope specialists. Over the course of three days, the expo also highlights local architecture, business development possibilities, design education including CEU’s, and tons of booth-specific swag.

This year the conference was held is Las Vegas, Nevada, themed Blueprint for a Better Future.

Unique Booths

Design Collaborations

Specializing in collaborative, handmade design via cast glass and landscape artistry, this husband and wife team is based in Tucson, Arizona. Design Collaborations was founded in 1990 and utilizes the “lost wax method.”

Their booth was eye-catching with over-sized glass beads in various colors hanging to represent a large necklace. Lear more about their process here.

“We craft forms ranging in shape from jewel-like elements to large sculptural pieces.  Our work, which is featured in settings ranging from private gardens to urban spaces, blends industrial gear and traditional bead forms.  By combing the creative talents of our team, we meld fragility and solidity, transparency and opacity, and visual and tactile beauty.”



One brand we’ve all heard of and likely purchased from, Behr brought their ‘A-game’ (pun intended). The booth showcased their interior paint options, which they turned into a creative activity, luring in attendees to paint a bear.

Sto Corp

“Building with Conscience” means taking product design and implementation to the next level. Sto believes in innovation, ease of use, low energy consumption, and aesthetically pleasing results.

Their booth demanded a lot of attention because of their collaboration with Ray Swinn, an abstract portrait artist creating live paintings of show attendees. See more of her work via her Instagram page.

artist painting abstract portraits of booth visitors

Ambius Design

Green design has a direct meaning with this company specializing in interior and exterior landscape design. Ambius living walls caught our attention because our new front lobby would be the perfect place to accommodate such a piece. The verdict is still out on our plans for our front lobby, but Ambius has given us a lot to think about!

New Mexico Design Community in LV


In addition to meeting designers and companies from across the country, we got to meet up with some past and present Albuquerque designers. Our Marketing Specialist attended the University of New Mexico School of Architecture & Planning‘s Alumni event. It is incredible to see the success of these professionals, all around one table. Included in the image below are (starting in the upper right corner, clockwise);

Jennifer Penner – Associate at Studio Southwest Architects,

Laura Anderson – Senior Architect at Studio Southwest Architects,

Ashley Hartshorn – Project Architect at Barbara Felix Architecture,

Brad McDonald – CEO & Principal Architect at Reveal Studio,

Sarah Lindenfeld – Managing Principle at Payette (AIA Firm of the Year!),

Drew Fisher – Architect & Project Manager at FBT Architects,

Jerome Gonzales – Restaurant Consultant at Lavu,

Alyssa Garnham – Marketing Specialist at Submaterial, and

Elizabeth Suina – President at Suina Design + Architecture.

It’s Moving Week!

Certificate of Occupancy is in hand, and the time is finally here! Our studio is in the process of moving production operations into our new building, nearly tripling our square footage. We’ll start with all our fabrication materials and tools, then move to the heavy equipment, and by Monday morning hopefully be right back into our standard production routine.

Moving Sale

As we move everything we need, we’ll be leaving plenty of tools and materials behind. Submaterial will be holding a Studio Moving Sale on May 31 and June 1. The sale will be cash only, and will include appliances, tools, art supplies, wool felt, modular wallcovering tiles, resin, sheet metal, furniture, office chairs, and much more.

Studio Moving Sale

May 31-June 1, 2019 from 10:00am – 4:00pm

6000 Midway Park Blvd NE Suite B (our old building)

Submaterial Team

With the promise of more space in the coming week and more work than our team can possibly complete in a timely manner, Submaterial hired on a temporary weekend crew. In addition, we now have three more full-time fabricators and one new design assistant. The studio currently employs 36 skilled team members.

New Furniture

To go along with our new 36,000 square foot building, we ordered new furniture from companies like Muuto via WorkSpace Dynamics, Allsteel, and Knoll. Be sure to follow our Instagram account to see studio photos which will include our new furniture.

Exciting News – Looking Ahead 4 Months

Mark your calendars for September as we’ll have our Annual Wall Panel Sale from September 15-30, 2019 and be hosting our Annual Open House during that time (date is TBD).  Our Open House will also be showcasing the launch of our new residential product line and a full company re-brand. To sign up for our Quarterly Newsletter and occasional Studio Updates, subscribe to our mailing list through our website.


WiD + Submaterial Creative Event

Women in Design New Mexico

Over the past two years, our team has connected with many local designers through networking events and a few lunch & learns. One influential relationship we’ve established is with Women in Design NM, a volunteer-driven nonprofit with a focus on bringing designers together in celebration of women in the field of design through networking and education.

women in design new mexico logo

Our first event with Women in Design was in 2017 at their 4th Annual Holiday Auction. Since then, we’ve attended several of their other networking events including their 5th Annual Holiday Auction & Design Competition for which we collaborated on a Wreath Design with FBT Architects.

WiD: NM + Submaterial Event

This year, Women in Design Chair  Noreen Kramme asked Submaterial if our team would host an event with their group. We were beyond excited to put on an event and decided to have attendees create their own mini sculptural felt wall panels. Originally intending to host 30 designers, we decided that our new building could accommodate a few more, and we went up to 40. Within a few weeks the event sold out and went on a wait-list (we never saw that coming!).


We set up five large tables with eight stations at each and designers quickly got to work staging their sculptures. Once they were happy with their layout, the hot glue was applied to secure each composition.

designers working around their table with wool felt components from Submaterial

Submaterial provided felt components from our archive of previous jobs and panel backings with z-clips for hanging. The components were set up at each station in ceramics made by Modern Folk Ware, a collection borrowed from our Founder & Creative Director.

wool felt components arranged in cream colored ceramics

The event was a huge success and it was incredible to see how other design-minded professionals used the material we work with daily.

sculptural felt wall panels on wall in a grid format

Future Plans

We are considering hosting an event like this each year to purge our excess material before our Annual Open House in September to clear out our space.

Be sure to sign up for our Quarterly Newsletter for studio updates, sales, and new product information. Email to subscribe to the Women in Design NM Newsletter –  great for event information and local design-community updates. If you are interested in becoming a WiD Member, visit their website here.


Sponsors of the Creative Networking Event



Formative Architecture


Dekker Perich Sabatini

Kenneth Myers Architecture

Sam Sterling Architecture

collage of event photos where designers are making sculptural panels with wool felt