The Material-Maker is an entity that is taking the worlds of art and science by storm. Challenging our perceptions of what we think things should or could be made of. A Material Maker encompasses the aesthetics of Design, the functionality of Science and the culture of our Heritage. They are carving out a unique space for themselves at the intersection of these three sectors, making themselves essential players in shaping the world of tomorrow.
Material Makers are key players in regenerating our damaged environment; they are the superheroes of our future. New and exciting materials are disrupting almost every industry worldwide. And the breadth and depth of these changes herald the transformation of entire systems of production, management, consumption and governance.
There is no one way to develop a material. Innovation in this field comes from Material Makers who vary in the type and scale of what they do. Here are some examples that we feel encompass and illustrate the current landscape of material making.
Atticus is an award-winning industrial designer who is curious by nature. That’s Caffeine is a product made with used coffee grounds and biodegradable resin. This material innovation hopes to close the production circle and bring new users to what was considered waste. The results are unique tiles in deep blacks, earthy browns and with a swirly two-toned marbled effect that reminds you of a frothy cup of freshly brewed coffee. This strong and shiny material can be applied to surfaces and interiors, as well as be cast into furniture.
Natural lime-based paint has existed and been used for hundreds of years. It absorbs CO2 during its carbonation process which helps reduce the CO2 in the air, it is a highly breathable paint and has natural antibacterial and insect repellent properties.
Graphenestone’s ecological paint is a combination of lime and pure carbon graphene and can be used in interior and exterior settings. The robust paint creates healthier spaces, by absorbing CO2 constantly across its lifetime, guaranteeing the breathability and health of the building, as well as offering high coverage, elasticity, flexibility and strength.
Israel based studio Tesler+Mendelovitch represents the confluence of a designer with manufacturer beautifully. The studio has developed Wood Textiles– a transformation of stiff, brittle wood into soft and bendable textiles–which they employ in the creation of furniture, interior wall panelling, fashion accessories and more.
The Designer partnering with Manufacturers: Ignorance is Bliss by Agne Kucerenkaite
Lithuanian designer Agne Kucerenkaite launched her project Ignorance is Bliss in 2016; it focusses on reincorporating metal waste generated in industries such as water treatment and soil remediation into new and valuable products.
Her research revealed the great potential for the colouring properties of this waste, a potential exploited to create a palette of rich hues to glaze ceramics and dye textiles. The metal waste from these industrial sources targeted by Agne comes in the form of a sludge, which has to undergo a number of processes in order to use it as a pigment, among them, drying, milling, and sieving. The glazes and dyes are generated solely by using pigments from the metal waste, and interestingly, the more contaminated the raw material, the more vibrant the hues of designed objects are.
The Academic Researcher turned Material Innovator: Pluumo by Aeropowder
Since entering the InnovationRCA accelerator and winning countless startup awards, the duo–who are continuing their research through Imperial College–have invented and released Pluumo, the world’s first sustainable thermal packaging material made from feathers. Here, surplus feathers have been turned into a unique, high-performance insulation textile and then covered with a compostable food grade liner. The result is a surprisingly attractive and tactile product that can replace conventional polystyrene packaging and pave the way for more sustainable deliveries.
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