I had one particularly severe design professor who hated materials swapping for the sake of materials swapping. For example if you brought in a design for something ordinarily made of leather but spec'd it for steel, and you couldn't back up your reason for the materials choice, he would excoriate you. "That's not profound, that's not clever," he would rant. "The materials are supposed to serve the design, not whimsy."
Still, sometimes it's fun (particularly when there's no danger of an "F" looming over your head) to see videos like this one, where materials experimentation is done just for the hell of it. To create a piece of "ride-able art," the guys at California-based Signal Snowboards visited some of Italy's master glass manufacturers to see if a glass snowboard was do-able.
The first stop was the Vetrerira Aurora glass factory in Brescia, where the board is first cut and formed. (Who knew you could hot-bend and laminate multiple layers of glass together, like a skate deck?) Stop two was glass magicians Viraver Technologies, where the glass was tempered, bonded and cooked. Then came the biq questions: How would it perform on ice, hard pack, powder? Check it out, and dig the crazy amount of machinery required to crank one of these out: