New Material Award

Exploring the tension between the hand-made and the factory-made is the realm of designers. But today, what I call the ‘grow-made’ is also possible. The mycelium research project by Maurizio Montalti continues to push the boundaries of biodesign and provides a concrete alternative to grow local biodegradable and compostable materials and products. Diana Scherer, the New Material Awards 2016 Fellow, trains wheat roots to grow into interconnected subterranean ‘woven’ textiles. Who would have thought even ten years ago that co-designing with organisms such as fungi and plants could revolutionise the way we can fabricate?  What is particularly exemplary with the work of Maurizio and Diana is both their ability to engage with well-informed fundamental design research and their ambition to rethink well established production systems. It is that level of experimental and original design research that we need to endorse further in order to promote open and courageous sustainable alternatives. We simply need more designers that can dare dreaming of a better place, and have the skillset to make our wishlist a reality. Let’s never forget that design is about making the world a better place. The Dutch New Material Award acts as a catalyst for such experimental and courageous design and as such has become a beacon for inspirational design research at international level. I am now eagerly waiting to discover the next set of design nominations…

Carole Collet is Professor in Design for Sustainable Futures and Director Design & Living Systems Lab at Central Saint Martins University of the Arts in London.

International New Materials network

Within the advancing international network of innovation in materials, design and sustainability, a growing number of new collaborative projects is being set up. Examples of international collaborations include working visits by Dutch designers and international activities for the New Material Award. Het Nieuwe Instituut and international partners organize these activities to realize more market expansion in the design field, in so doing contributing to the internationalization of Dutch design practice.

International Materials & Design Network