Review: Materia in London

Interaction was the key to the latest Materia exhibition, held last week in London. We joined up with the May Design Series for the second time to bring designers the most innovative materials.

For the first time in the UK we also took our Discover concept to the show. A high-powered macro camera was connected to one of the white displays so that visitors could really zoom in on the materials.

Some of the most popular materials on display at May Design Series 2014 were Ply Project, a flexible foam and sliced plywood material that‘s more like a textile than a wood composite; MYX, a lightweight material made from mushroom mycelium, and SibuGlas Saphire, a beautiful, radiant decorative panel.

The Interactive show was warmly received by the mostly UK-based audience. Interior Designer Sarah Fortescue described Materia’s exhibition as a great discovery, and others mentioned visiting last year and coming back especially to see the show’s new collection this edition. Architect Manidipa Basu described the exhibition as a source of inspiration and creativity in the world of material specifying for building projects.

Also at the show were a number of our partners, who brought along an outstanding and diverse range of material innovations. Eeuwenhout displayed reclaimed wood from dismantled North American barns. Making the most of reliable and durable woods, Eeuwenhout demonstrated refurbishment techniques that breathe new life into these distinctive, story-telling materials.

Also innovating with wood, Foreco introduced NobelWood, an award-winning modification technique for tropical hardwoods that’s at the leading edge of durable and sustainable wood treatments.

Meanwhile, Esthec exhibited high quality and remarkably wear-resistant finishes and composites for outdoor applications ranging from swimming pools to jetties and yachts. And adding to the craft of acoustic design and performance, Acosorb displayed their versatile and colourful range of seamless, acoustic spray plastering and stucco.

The popular and signature wood veneer samples by Plexwood attracted large crowds while the always dynamic range of tiles from Mosa also generated much interest. And debuting in London, Made a Mano Italia brought their exclusive design collection of tiles made of Sicilian lava stone.

Bringing the various themes of materials, innovation and interaction together was Els Zijlstra’s opening day seminar, which was all about Smart Materials in Architecture. From thermochromic materials that change colour in response to heat, to piezoelectric materials that produce voltage when stress is applied, our Creative Director discussed how materials of the future will take energy not from the grid, but from external stimuli such as temperature, moisture, acidity or electromagnetic fields, in order to generate energy and change colour, shape, size or opacity.

Practical examples included a thermochromic film that was part of Materia’s exhibition, the Smart Highway project by Studio Roosegaarde and the Homeostatic Façade System by Decker Yeadon architects.

Missed out on the action? We have more images, quotes and links on our Twitter and Facebook feeds. The next scheduled Material Xperience On Tour will be at METS in the Amsterdam RAi this November. Check out our other upcoming events here.