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The designed world is full of amazing materials doing amazing things. Here is a rich catalogue of the latest materials and how designers are putting them to use. The subtitle sums it up: The global resource of new and innovative materials for architects, artists and designers. There are a few things that will surprise you. First of all, the incredible range of materials that this book covers from cement to textiles and everything in between. And secondly just how weird and wonderful the examples are: fibre-glass wallpaper, knitted wire textile, nickel foam, sunflower seed fibre-board, isostatic compressed wood to name a few without even looking at polymers.
The range of materials available to professional designers has long since eclipsed those available in the standard workshop. So where does that leave teachers running a Design and Technology programme? Well, for a start we need to introduce younger students to the basic materials so they can understand how they behave, but it is worth knowing a few things about more advanced materials. This information can enrich the learning experience even when working with some straight forward materials. For example a project that uses radiata pine (cheap and renewable) can be a good introduction to recycled woods and interesting composites such as wood leather composite or cork fabric.
The story of materials doesn’t stop in the workshop and we should be talking about the wonderful innovations that are taking some very straightforward materials and turning them into materials of the future. At a higher level when more senior students are developing their own design ideas, let’s not limit them to merely what they have seen in the workshop. There is a real place for using some of the more advanced materials in senior student work. Even if it may be too difficult to work with them in the school setting some useful industry links can be made and research of the material can form part of a related study. Frist of all we need to know what is out there and this book is a great place to start.
Surprising design materials: amazing combinations, processes and capabilities.
By G Beylerian and A Dent. Edited by Anita Moryadas - The global resource of new and innovative materials for architects, artists, and designers - 287 pages - Thames & Hudson