Material Monday: 'Tactility Speaks Paper' Exhibition at Clerkenwell Design Week 2018

Material Monday: 'Tactility Speaks Paper' Exhibition at Clerkenwell Design Week 2018

Posted 30 April 2018 by Katie Kubrak

This Material Monday, we are super excited to announce an exhibition we are organising in collaboration with Fedrigoni UK for Clerkenwell Design Week 2018! Read about the event below and stay tuned for more!



In one of his poems John Keats states that ‘touch has a memory’. After a careful consideration of the thought, effort and process with which some of the most iconic design pieces were achieved, one could claim, that this insight extends far beyond the lyrical perspective of the poet.

Furthermore, physical communication is innately human. It is probably the most basic and primitive form of communication we have. For long before there was speech, there was touch. In effect, haptic experiences and their importance in communication should not be overlooked.

Why? Because sense of touch is intrinsically emotional. It is a form of social glue that binds people to other people, objects, spaces and brands more than anything else in the world. It is a unified sensation that helps us builds a connection with the environment we are in.

Tactile surfaces speak to us not only in visual shapes, but also create a subliminal dialogue with us by stimulating receptors in the skin. These could be activated by a range of signals that are dependent on the nature of the surface, which is defined by lay, roughness and waviness.

A varying ratio of these could achieve effects such as: smooth, soft, glossy, hammered, vertical, horizontal, radial, cross-hatched, circular or isotropic sensations. Material preparation and its finish can further translate into other haptic perceptions such as weight and temperature.



‘Tactility Speaks Paper’ is a mindfully curated exhibition with accompanying talks that will explore paper as a creative tool for sensorial design. With vision that materials have the power to turn a good idea into a great one, Nirvana CPH and Fedrigoni UK have teamed up to ideate on paper’s creative potential through study of tactility.

This is the first exhibition of this kind and we are so very proud to launch it at Clerkenwell Design Week.

During the exhibition, a visitor will be able to (a) learn about paper production processes and finishes, (b) engage in haptic experience of paper and (c) acquaint with a range of tactile impressions such as soft, rough, ribbed, textured, punched and many more. The exhibition will be accompanied by a paper production video and workshop by Foilco. Thanks to the latter, every visitor will be able to try their hand at foiling papers and explore shifting tactility of the surface.

Alongside exploring paper as a creative tool for sensorial design, this event will also be accompanied by an industry talk where designers from a range of creative fields will present why considering tactility when designing can add to the overall customer experience of product or space.




Rhombus, also referred to as diamond shape, is a four-sided outline where all sides have equal lengths. A Rhombus is also a parallelogram, which means that even though the surface will feel distorted, the overall tactile experience will be consistently stimulating.



Surface topographies that mimic the sensation of the skin (human or animal) by sophisticated irregular patterns found in nature. Selected inclinations can communicate natural and honest topographies. In combination with relevant surface finishes these can be seductively sensuous to the sense of touch.


Nail punch

The surface is laid with irregularly positioned inclinations that resemble distorted nail punches. It can be characterised through a dramatic surface topography with areas of flat intertwining with steep depressions.



This texture family describes surface impressions that run at right angles to a horizontal plane. This consistent alignment, such that the top is directly above the bottom, can communicate confidence, dynamic qualities as well as strength to the sense of touch.



Impressions that radiate from central point are referred to as radial. These can be arranged like rays or the radii of a circle. Lines diverging from a common centre can be located independently, overlap, and intertwine creating a sense of depth that draws in your tactile interest with its fluidity.



Multi-layered family embraces duality of surface textured. It can offer a combination of shapes that include but are not limited to: rough / soft, rough / rough or soft / soft. In terms of tactility, it can communicate complex, intricate, elegant and refined sensations.



Exhibition “Tactility Speaks Paper”

Witness production process and engage in haptic experience of paper. Acquaint yourself with a range of tactile impressions such as soft, rough, ribbed, textured, punched and many more.

22nd – 24th May 2018, Time: 10:00-18:00

Workshop: “Tactility Speaks Paper – Foiling”

Try your hand at foiling papers with experts from Foilco and explore shifting tactility yourself. Pop in anytime to try a hand in this sensuous craft!

22nd – 24th May 2018, Time: 10:00-18:00

Industry Talk: “Tactility Speaks”

Join us for our industry talk, where acclaimed designers will share their insights on designing with tactility in mind.

Talk to be followed by food and drink reception.

23rd May 2018, Time: 12:30-13:30



Fedrigoni UK – Imaginative Papers Studio

Clerkenwell House

67 Clerkenwell Road

London EC1R 5BL


If you are interested to find out more about the event, accompanying talk, review the exhibition, or you would just like to say ‘Hi’, please feel free to get in touch.

We hope to see you there!