Two German scientists, Juergen Pfitzer and Helmut Naegele, have created a new material called Arboform which is a renewable plastic with wood-like qualities, yet can be formed into any shape. Arboform is made from lignin-a byproduct of the paper-making process. When combined with resins and flax, it forms a bio-plastic mass that looks and feels like wood and can be used to make several products such as furniture, toys, loudspeakers and even car interiors. Most significantly, Arboform is totally biodegradable and its raw material lignin is available in abundance, making it an environmentally friendly material that can potentially save significant natural resources. Via:[PSFK]
Processes are an equally inspiring area for designers to explore. Here we list a few examples that have caught our eye lately.
The clue is in the name with this process – perhaps best described as an updated version of medieval chainmail body armour, Kaynemaile pulls off an impressive manufacturing ‘trick’ in that it makes it possible to produce a plastic mesh with no visible links or joints in a single step. In comparison to other plastic or metal meshes, it’s impossible to find any joints anywhere in the textile. Made from polycarbonate available in a wide range of colours, from opaque to translucent, Kaynemaile is suitable for all kinds of interior and lighting applications. To find out more, please visit the Kaynemaile website – www.kaynemaile.com
Image:Mathias Bengtson’s Spun Bench, commissioned by Future City and St James Group. Image courtesy of the designer.
The idea of a composite is simple enough – take two or more materials and combine them in a new, super-material with much better properties than the ingredients on their own. It’s not a new idea – already thousands of years ago, mud and straw was combined to make adobe bricks. Since then, mud has been replaced with high-performance plastic resin and the straw with some super-strong, ultra-lightweight fibre, although natural plant-based fibres and resins are making a big comeback in the emerging field of bio-composites.
For the second year Foamalux was chosen as the cutting edge signage material used at the Restaurant and Bar Design Award ceremony to be held at Victoria House in London on the 22nd June. Foamalux, Foam PVC sheet has endless possibilities in the design of interiors, restaurant and bar outfitting, signage, contemporary displays, product design and fabrication, it cuts, bends and shapes successfully. Its versatility meant that all elements at the Awards ceremony could be made of or covered with Foamalux. This includes the networking pods, bar, entrance booth, cloak room, the awards and even the badges and drinks tokens.
As a designer, the first thing you are likely to notice about a material is its surface. But scratch the surface and you will find all kinds of interesting material properties underneath. Here we take a look at some interesting ‘multi-sensory’ materials that have caught our eye lately.
The traditional approach to impact protection was to add more and more layers of heavy armour – just take a walk around the arms and armour collection in London’s V&A Museum for a display of backbreaking panoplies. But as materials evolve, so have impact protection. In Ingredients 3 (download it from www.moreingredients.com) we featured some of the best materials-related clips we could find on the net.
Materials that can adapt to changing circumstances, such as shape-memory alloys, were once the reserve of space agencies and science fiction writers. But as these materials are becoming cheaper and easier to process, they are quickly finding new applications in everything from furniture to consumer electronics. Here we take a look at some exciting examples that have caught our eye lately.
Karim Rashid @ “Smart-ologic Corian® Living” A smart sustainable home with DuPont™ Corian® by Karim Rashid
Soft organic shapes realised through a morphic material to create a sensual living environment…a space that echoes the digital techno-organic world we live in, evoking an alternative way of experiencing the home environment…and one of the most creative, colourful and inspiring installations of the Milan design week 2010.
Dutch entrepreneurs Casper van Oosten and Teun Wagenaar have created a special glass panel which collects solar energy and generates its own power.
The DBA Pen is a truly innovative product that’s 98% biodegradable.
Made out of a bio-plastic derived from non-GMO potatoes, the pen is fitted with an ink reservoir made from a renewable fiber, and a custom ink is exceptionally safe for humans and the environment.
Japanese designer and inveterate snowboarder Taro Tamai has been hand-shaping his eye-catching Gentemstick boards for over a decade. An answer to the homogenization of board shapes that happened as snowboarding gained mainstream appeal, Tamai’s goal is no less than to “perfectly blend into the terrain miraculously made of snow and wind, just as if birds flying in the sky or fish flowing in the stream.” The upshot of his philosophical approach to the sport (he calls it snow-surfing) is a line of boards renowned for their flexible fins, oversized sized fish tails and rideability in almost any snow condition. Via:[CoolHunting]
Dutch artist, Ebére Groenouwe has created a sculptural hanging lamp made from the waste paper of recycled juice cartons. Ebére drew inspiration from Origami and Biomorphism in designing this lamp.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon and Microsoft have joined forces to create Skinput, a bio-acoustic sensing device that allows your skin to be used as a touch-screen interface. An armband is equipped with a projector to display a menu or phone keys, as well as an acoustic sensor that analyzes distinct sounds made on the surface of skin related to specific bone density, joints and tissue. That information is delivered through a Bluetooth device back to the phone to determine what button has been pressed.
The move away from homogenised, global products to ones that embrace local crafts and vernacular design is gathering pace. Referencing the growth of the idea of authenticity and hand-crafted objects is Spirit, one of our trends for Spring/Summer 2011. This trend story is also featured in the current issue of Mix magazine and Mix Trends Irish design studio Superfolk perfectly captures this ethos with its economical collection of low-key but beautifully executed furniture that uses locally sourced materials and techniques including basket weaving and craft.
Spotted at Design Indaba Expo 2010 a beautiful collection of suspension lighting by designers Dani Le Roy and Laura Summs. Produced under the label Moonbasket, the duo combine their passion for knitting with a desire to aid impoverished communities in surrounding townships.