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Brief Published: 22 Jun 2015

DMY Berlin: Experimental Materials

Clockwise L-R: Leila Mona Gassert, Katrin Krupka, Jorge Penadés, Jon McTaggart, Valerian Blos

International design festival DMY Berlin played host to a number of designers experimenting and pushing the boundaries of materials this year. Here, we round up the highlights.

  • Exhibiting as part of New Talents, Israel-based designer Jon McTaggart digitally crafts code-driven forms made from sand and resin using a Yaskawa-Motoman industrial robotic arm. The arm has been programmed to inject resin into a 3D form underground in sand. The object is then excavated once it has dried. The various types of sand react differently to the production process, creating unique objects that vary in precision, colour and texture.

For further inspiration, see our Materials Focus rationales Super Natural and Honest Materials for more on how creatives are harnessing natural matter in inventive ways.

  • Spanish designer Jorge Penadés has developed an innovative new technique to repurpose leather offcuts. The waste leather is compacted together using natural bone glue, resulting in a unique and luxurious colouration with a marble-effect appearance. The leather and bone glue mixture is poured into bar-shaped moulds and left to set. Once dried, the bars are constructed into luxurious pieces of furniture.

For more on this project, see our recent Materials Focus 2017 rationale Constructed Layers, which explores how layered structures are driving innovations in composites, ultra-light fabrics and sustainable materials.

  • From the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, industrial design student Leila Mona Gassert explores the potential of creating 3D objects out of acetate plastic. Scoring the surface with equilateral pentagon shapes allows the plastic to be manipulated into different forms. Gassert demonstrated the technique through bag and lampshade concepts.

See our report Adapt, Fold & Transform for more on materials that harness folding techniques to engineer products.

  • Berlin-based Katrin Krupka showed an innovative development process that explored a variety of textile composites using industrial cotton waste. Krupka experiments with different recycling processes using textile flock, fluff, yarn remnants and fabric cut-offs to create intriguing new surfaces.

See our Materials Focus 2016-17 rationale Resource as it examines new approaches to sourcing sustainable materials leading to intriguing composites that enable flexible and crafted designs.

  • Also based in Berlin, interaction designer Valerian Blos launched a food-packaging concept that reacts to spoiling contents in an intuitive manner. Made from cultivated human skin cells, the packaging is designed to contain milk. The cells show natural signs of ageing in response to the decaying liquid inside. Blos hopes to continue his exploration for more applications of synthetic skin.

For more on how synthetic biology is driving innovation, see our report The Biology Boom.