The art of magnetism

One of the biggest challenges to designers is making an object stay up. This is true whether it’s a lampshade or a skyscraper. While we’re getting pretty good at building solidly, some creatives take the idea of supporting materials to an artistic level.

Architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars’ much-hyped floating bed weighs a ton – but it really does float. His office has previously worked on furniture and other pieces too. The pieces use permanent magnets to repel similar magnets hidden away.

Design studio Crealev takes a slightly different approach. They design lamps which use electromagnetism to keep the two halves apart. They look gorgeous, but only work with the power plugged in.

Meanwhile, some materials have surprising magnetic properties. This rheological fluid is iron-based, and locks into place if a magnet is held close by.

Similar fluids contain a high quantity of iron. Under the influence of magnetic force, such liquids can be made to dance, as this video beautifully illustrates.

These images no doubt contribute to designers’ inspiration. Designer Jólan van der Wiel, whose gravity stools made a splash in 2012, has teamed up with fashion designer Iris van Herpen to create the Magnetic Moon Dress. She made the headlines several years ago with her 3D printed wear.

Looking onwards, scientists have just discovered a new synthetic magnetic material. Synthetic ferrimagnets don’t contain rare earth minerals, and are therefore better for the environment, as well as cheaper. The invention, at Radboud University (NL), could lead to a cheaper, easier way to store information.

Combine that with the furniture, clothes and architecture above, and it is certain that magnetism will remain a force to be reckoned with in the future.


  1. Kobus says:

    This is Fantastic,

    Magnatism is definately going to play a massive role in the future, as it has been doing since the beginning.

  2. Maria Silva says:

    Good images and an it seems to be an interesting article.

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