Design experiments from the frontiers of material science
For six months in 2018, 10 design studios and 10 material researchers at the forefront of their fields embarked upon an extraordinary collaboration.
Combining insights and technology from the cutting edge of material science with the curiosity and creative vision of design, each partnership has set out to translate often-complex research into visually engaging forms, and to explore the potential of new, non-commercialised materials to solve the design challenges of tomorrow.
From game-changing innovations in bioplastics to new applications for naturally abundant materials, the latest leaps in artificial intelligence to the ancient processes at work in living systems, every one of these 10 projects presents an intriguing, exciting – and often beautiful – vision of what our material future might look like.
What Matter_s is a joint project from Southern Sweden Creatives, Form/Design Center, SPOK, and Art & Science Initiative.
Curator: Nina Warnolf
Portrait images and film: Andy Dunn, Zetteler Films
Product images: Fanny Hansson
Both graduates in industrial design at Lund University, Andreas Kojcevski Hansson and Siri Skillgate first met during an internship in 2015, and recently decided to combine their skills in concept visualisation, communication and production innovation as the design duo KOSK.
Dr Cedric Dicko is a specialist in soft biomaterials at the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University. His research focuses on the production, properties and potential applications of protein based-materials such as spider silk.
Kristian Andréason and Kristin Leibel – aka Andréason & Leibel – run their studio in an old printing house in Arlöv, working on projects ranging from furniture and lighting commissions to experimental artistic works inspired by old masters.
Virgínia Boix is a master student in Lund University’s materials science programme, currently working on a thesis exploring 2D materials such as graphene and composites. She uses cutting-edge technology such as scanning tunnelling microscopy to visualise the results of her experiments at an atomic level.
Industrial designer Jenny Nordberg works at the threshold of art and design, using her practice to explore and expand contemporary notions of design, designer and their relationship to wider society.
Prof. Magnus Tägil works in the department of orthopaedics at Lund University. He is a research leader for its ‘Building Bone-Killing Bugs’ initiative and part of the Smart Bone project, both looking for materials that can be used as bone replacements in humans.
Kajsa Willner is a cross-disciplinary designer with an international background in furniture and industrial design. Her Malmö studio sets out to playfully challenge conceptions of what design is, creating products and interiors that introduce new ideas and concepts into everyday life.
Prof. Dmytro Orlov’s research focuses on understanding the properties of different metals and how that understanding might be used to develop new manufacturing techniques, such as in the design of light metals for use in biomedical and mobility applications.
Kunsik Choi is a Korean-born independent designer based in Malmö, mainly working in furniture and product design. His aim is to create contemporary design with an emotional dimension that chimes with the specific needs of the user.
Prof. Rajni Hatti-Kaul works at the biotechnology department at Lund University, where she explores the properties and development of biomaterials and green chemicals.
Specialising in concept design, curation and exhibition design, Petra Lilja has dedicated her career to examining the role of the designer in a world where problems such as climate change, poverty and inequity can be traced back to design decisions.
Dr Ramune Kuktaite is an assistant professor at the Department of Plant Processing in Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Her research concerns the production of bio-based plastics and foams from plant materials such as potato starch and wheat proteins.
Furniture designer Petter Thörne seeks to uncover the unexpected and poetic character of individual materials and material combinations. He is part of the multicultural makers collective Forma.
Dr. Paulien Strandberg is a researcher in the department of building materials at Lund University, with special interests in the insulation and moisture-transport properties of bio-based building materials and the use of lime/hemp composites in construction.
Founded by designer and future-thinker Jenny Lee, Studio Aikieu operates at the intersection of design, science and technology, using speculative design to spark debate and discussion around the social, ethical and environmental implications of how we utilise science and technology to craft a better tomorrow.
Dr Solmas Hajizadeh is a biotechnology and chemical engineering researcher at Lund University. Her work includes diverse projects related to nanotechnology, water/wastewater treatment and environmental engineering.
Driven by research and innovation, Superlab is a Helsingborg-based experimental design company that collaborates with researchers, psychologists and experts in different areas to solve problems from new perspectives.
An assistant professor at Lund University, Dr Axel Nordin explores ways of integrating complex morphologies into bespoke products in order to address computational, manufacturing, structural and usability challenges. He is particularly interested in the application of artificial intelligence for engineering design.
Comprising spatial/furniture designer Anny Wang and architect Tim Söderström, Wang & Söderström is an art and design practice with a focus on using digital/physical explorations and fabrication to create unexpected experiences through materiality and technology.
Prof. Magnus Borgström and his PhD student, Vilgailė Dagytė, work at NanoLund, researching the properties of nanowires, the techniques behind their manufacte, and how they might be used in renewable energy technologies such as solar cells.