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Materia at Tekhnodrev Siberia

Team Materia took off for the dense woods of Siberia to exhibit at a new show for us. Tekhnodrev 2013 is one of Russia’s most significant wood exhibitions, and Materia was there to promote some of the best wood, as well as other biobased materials for the design and construction industry.

Materia’s exhibition featured over 150 examples from our collection, organised around the theme of biobased materials. Popular examples at the show included DendroLight, a cleverly cut wooden construction material that is light-weight and strong, and a Cork Polymer Composite which combines light-weight, flexible cork with a strong, durable polymer. The Kirei board was also a novelty for Russia. It uses leftovers from plant processing to form a light-weight, strong board. Finally, the colourful ´dejection-moulding board´ always produces interesting looks once visitors find out what it’s made of. This material, with an unremarkable name, is actually a surprising innovation that uses snail excrement in various shades to produce a brightly coloured paper product.

In a series of lectures, Materia’s creative director Els Zijlstra and editor Philip Allin gave an overview of the latest developments in wood. This ranged from wood processing and technology to innovations such as BendyWood and Luminoso. Also included were examples such as Shigeru Ban’s Cardboard Cathedral and a charming set of winter shelters in Canada.

Overall, the Russian market was more than usually interested in well-conceived and cleverly thought out materials. In particular, the visitors were attracted to sturdy materials that last a long time in varied climates, such as long-lasting woods and leathers. Considering the huge temperature differences in Siberia between summer and winter, this is not surprising. Other highlights that caught our attention were the requests for formaldehyde-free materials and bio-degradable plastics. This is a direct result of new national guidelines for the construction industry.

We are going to keep a close eye on natural materials, and specifically at current trends in wood. Contemporary wood architecture, and how we may be designing and building with wood in the near future, is of continued interest and will certainly be the subject of future Materia articles.

Tekhnodrev 2013 took place in a newly built expo centre just outside Novosibirsk, the capital of the Siberian Federal District. More information and next year’s schedule is here.

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