The exhibition will introduce the hemp-based PEEL Chair, the first injection-molded chair that can be composted.

Milan, March 22 2023 – PROWL Studio returns to Milan Design Week this April with Expect Death, a narrative installation that will debut the PEEL Chair, a new product concept developed in close collaboration with M4 Factory. PEEL is a responsible alternative to the ubiquitous plastic stacking chair made primarily from hemp. The exhibition concept showcases the entire lifecycle of the chair, which is biodegradable and compostable. Set within Alcova’s new venue at the former Porta Vittoria abattoir, Expect Death explores what happens when we leverage the end of a product as a new beginning.

Fast furniture is a massive problem in the design industry. Low-quality, toxic materials and the constant pressure to keep up with changing trends lead to over 12 million tons of furniture being disposed of in the U.S. alone each year. With PEEL, the PROWL team is exploring ways of combating fast furniture from within by designing with healthier materials and incorporating an accessible end-of-life plan from the beginning of the design process. Inspired by hemp stock and how different parts of the plant are removed to be harvested for reuse, PEEL is an elevated version of the classic stacking chair that marries utility with responsibility. It serves its purpose, but only for as long as it needs to.

“Instead of asking how we can do less bad, we ask how we can do the most good,” explains PROWL co-founder Lauryn Menard. “For us, that means beginning with the end in mind to fully understand what each product, material, or space we design can become. We give equal weight to design and its eventual regeneration. All stages of a product’s lifecycle are symbiotic and inseparable.”

Visitors will experience this ethos first-hand at Alcova. Upon entering the exhibition space in Il Mattatoio (The Slaughterhouse), one of many unique spaces at this year’s new location, they will first encounter PEEL in its final form: returned to the earth, in a state of decomposition. From this last resting place, the installation traces the chair’s lifecycle back to the beginning, when the chair arrives flat-packed in hemp packaging at the user’s home. A dynamic animation by visualization studio Dada Projects will explore PEEL’s material journey at the molecular level and will be on view throughout the exhibition.

A lesser-known power crop with enormous benefits, hemp is celebrated in every detail of Expect Death and every component of the PEEL chair. PEEL’s structural frame is made out of a hemp-based bioplastic that is manufactured just like any conventional plastic but can be industrially composted. Developed by M4 Factory, the material combines hemp bast fiber and hurd—byproducts of industrial hemp processing that are typically wasted—with biopolymers.

“At M4, we approach how things are made considering people and the environment from the onset,” says chief design officer Kyle Swen. “Many of our plastics contain upcycled agricultural waste. We can use one less pound of plastic for every pound of agricultural waste we upcycle. Products designed with less plastic are more sustainable, and these bioplastics are often stronger and lighter than their petroleum-based counterparts.”

The chair is topped off with a completely novel hemp foam cushion that is encased in hemp bioleather, which was developed with NYC-based material innovators Studio Veratate. This material is also featured in the curtains that surround the installation. Due to their different compositions, PEEL’s frame and cushion have different expected life cycles though they feature the same base material. The frame will take some time to break down, up to six months, depending on the conditions of the industrial facility in which it is composted. The cushion is home compostable. It can be quickly and responsibly disposed of when it loses its comfort, or the user wants to upgrade with a new color or finish.

“Our studio uses Milan Design Week as an incubator and vehicle for turning some of our biggest ideas into tangible objects and experiences,” says PROWL co-founder Baillie Mishler. “Breaking down those barriers and connecting our research to real-world applications and outcomes is vital to our mission as a design studio. We want to show that regenerative design isn’t just a lofty aspiration—it can be executed. PEEL is a prototype for now, but every aspect of it has been considered with scale in mind.”

PEEL is the first product developed by PROWL Studio with M4 Factory, but not the last. The companies—both women-founded and woman-owned—are announcing a first-of-its-kind partnership in the industry. To reach a more responsible mass-manufactured future, they are joining forces to see product ideas through from conception to delivery—and sometimes even beyond, as PEEL exemplifies. Their partnership is a valuable resource for product brands with clear goals and the desire to develop and deliver more responsible, sustainable products to their consumers.

“This partnership allows us to significantly expand our mission-driven approach with a keen focus on the future of design and manufacturing,” says Patricia Miller, CEO of M4 Factory. “Our two companies are united by the shared belief that material innovation and material strategies are critical and that real success occurs when these strategies are considered and implemented throughout the design and manufacturing process. Our collaborative approach will bring end-to-end solutions to forward-thinking brands ready to usher in a new era of regenerative design.”



Expect Death by PROWL Studio and M4 Factory


April 17-23, 2023


Viale Molise 62, Milano

Il Mattatoio, Room M2

Press Preview:

Sunday, April 16th

3pm – 6pm

Alcova Opening Hours:

Monday, April 17th – Sunday, April 23rd

11am to 7pm daily

Please email to arrange an appointment for a guided viewing.

For media enquiries please contact:

Alexandra Alexa


PROWL is a female-founded design studio creating new solutions for people and the planet. With a focus on material innovation, we provide tangible outcomes that strive to shift the design industry toward purpose and responsibility. Our process is research-forward, values-driven, and guided by our unrelenting sense of optimism. We believe that reorienting the design process toward an earth-centered methodology is the key to fostering a regenerative future. This approach manifests in a variety of forms: products, interiors, environments, experiences, and strategies. Our results empower our clients to harness emerging trends and technologies to shape tomorrow’s life for the better.

Social: @prowl__




M4 Factory is a female-owned and led design and manufacturing factory based outside of Chicago, Illinois. M4 is focused on modernizing the view of American manufacturing through a thoughtful approach to design, engineering, tooling, and manufacturing products made of plastic. M4 champions environmentally responsible material alternatives and focuses on the client experience, bringing creativity to every step of the process. M4 Factory is known as the vanguard of sustainable product design & manufacturing. As one of the fastest-growing manufacturers in the US, M4 has been named to the Inc. 5000 list five years in a row.

Social: @m4factory




Veratate is focused on developing a breadth of biomaterials from hemp and algae derived polymers. Hemp, a vehicle for environmental remediation, is at the core of all our materials. Hemp is a powerful carbon sink, soil regenerator, and has an incredibly fast growth rate. We are working with several hemp farms across the US while collecting and processing hemp waste from local farms.

Parallel to the ongoing development of alternative particle board and foam insulation, we welcome custom fabrication and design projects. In addition to advancing our materials, we are constantly growing our library of healthy materials and are excited by the prospect of developing tailored biomaterial solutions. Our main goal is to provide an outlet for designers, artists, and makers to bring life to their ideas in an environmentally respectful way.

Social: @studioveratate




Founded in 2018, Alcova is an itinerant platform for independent design. With its fifth edition coming up, Alcova prepares to continue its exploration of the city of Milan with an exciting new location, and we are today excited to announce that the 2023 edition will see the debut of the former Porta Vittoria abattoir as the exhibition’s new venue. Today in a state of neglect but poised for a radical and permanent transformation, the area will be activated by Alcova in an interstitial phase. The platform conceived by Joseph Grima (founder of Space Caviar) and Valentina Ciuffi (founder of Studio Vedèt) will once again bring design and research into dialogue with surprising and historically significant urban settings, entering into a temporary relationship of cohabitation with nature that has grown wild and spontaneously taken over these imposing sites.