This year Material Xperience was an outstanding showcase of newest and most inspiring materials across six creative sectors that included: fashion and work wear, packaging and graphics, mobility, interior, product, and architecture. Exhibited materials, products and a series of well-curated talks successfully portrayed the importance of a cross-sector material innovation. Furthermore, they also conveyed a worldwide need for more creative strategic collaborations, which offer solutions to current socio-economic and environmental problems.
Latest material R&D offering, displayed at the event, demonstrated commitment to sustainability (bio-based, recycled & circular materials), digital techniques (3D printing, robotics, CNC milling), materials lightweighting (far-reaching beyond just automotive industry), the return of luxury materials, where comfort, craftsmanship, ease of use (usability) and atmosphere are main points of surface attraction. A substantial spotlight was also given to a new range of ‘fusion’ materials, where various desired characteristics are combined in one composite material. For example, the appearance of wood, the acoustics of textiles, the ease of use of plastic and the weight of foam combined in one new material.
Without any further delay, please find below summary of the industry insights that were discussed at recent Material Xperience 2018:
Building developers consume over 50% of all extracted materials. With resources being constrained by environment and newly introduced regulations, architecture sector rapidly seeks innovative circular solutions. The industry aims to reduce fossil fuels consumption across transport and production, as well as to cutback on the use of virgin materials by recycling construction waste. Furthermore, digital production techniques – such as 3D printing, CNC milling and the use of robots for customised production – introduce a completely new visual language to spatial environments. Developments in smart materials that explore renewable energy generation, low-maintenance, self-healing and self-cleaning structures, interaction and communicative built-in sensors, are the go-to measures to increase comfort, convenience and safety of the user and their environment.
The demands for offices, school, healthcare, houses, and cultural institutes keep on evolving and offer chances for material development within the field of environment, appearance, economy, safety, use, and maintenance.
The new interior is the perfect environment to express identity, stimulate senses, make work effortlessly convenient and relaxing more pleasant. The choice of the right materials can erect a healthy environment that is low-maintenance with optimal acoustics, stimulating daylight, good air-quality, and responds to the needs of the user. The modern interior is flexible, sustainable, build from circular products, and preferably multifunctional.
Creative world stands on the brink of a new era. There is no question that the throwaway culture behind seasonal gadgets and trendy products creates too much landfill waste. Arising circular economy demands recycled and bio-based materials. In effect, design process needs to be redefined to meet modern necessities. It needs to aim to shape products more efficiently, with smarter application of raw and recycled materials and sustainable manufacturing processes.
Other important areas of development within products industry include: nanotechnology, smart materials, sensors, energy generating surfaces, digital production processes and user-friendliness. These advancements aim to improve the performance of products, both in the work environment as well as in the residential environment.
To conclude, the biggest opportunity for material innovation lies within technical, aesthetical, haptic, conceptual, sustainable and cost-effective solutions.
Public transportation, automotive industry, cycling and flying are undergoing an unparalleled transformation to a new mobility ecosystem. In this scenario, the car increasingly becomes a working and living environment; it starts to communicate, from safe warning systems to autonomous self-navigating and self-driving; public transport in mega cities needs to offer speedy connections, cleanliness and less-exhausting experiences; cycling is to disrupt and dominate on the city streets promoting low-congestion zones; aircraft cabins are to elevate travel experiences across all sensorial touch points portraying an element of Zen relaxation through the use of light and materials.
Furthermore, most prominent industry innovations include light weighting, increased strength resistance, efficient production processes, energy saving, as well as the integration of functions, added experiences, and means of communication. Sustainable approaches are showcased through the decrease in use of fossil fuels to compact, lightweight and construct affordable batteries; invent recyclable super strong composites and bio-resins, new metal alloys, smart material combinations, and coatings to protect against weather influences.
Fashion & Workwear:
The fashion industry, being responsible for approximately 10% of CO2-emissions, is one of the most polluting sectors. What is more, the production of clothing for one household costs a thousand bathtubs of water, and the working conditions in low wage countries (where the production usually takes place) are abominable. Preservation, good working conditions, recycling, reuse, and upcycling are therefore big trends in the fashion industry.
Besides aforementioned trends, material innovation of work and active wear is demonstrated through the application of smart materials, which add functions such as anti-transparency, medication, anti-radiation, odour neutralisation, self-cleaning, fireproofing, shape memory and health monitoring. While fibre innovations are improving e-textile technologies, 3D printing is taking off in accessories, shoes, and even lingerie. Coatings and prints are no longer just aesthetic. They become functional as they add waterproofness, fireproofness, or even the ability to generate energy, change colour or texture, or adapt insulation.
Should you be interested to learn more about inspiring materials and fascinating trends that surfaced at the show, please feel free to get in touch to arrange a workshop session! You can also request material spec and samples!