The New Material Award is one of few awards that focuses on the use of new materials and innovative technologies. Every two years, visual artists, designers and architects (working in the Netherlands) are challenged to contribute their material-based approaches to a better and more sustainable society.
We joined the award ceremony and took a closer look at the exhibition during this year's Dutch Design Week, revealing what the jury decided to be the stuff of tomorrow's products.
Basse Stittgen interviewed by Andrea van Pol
For this year's awards ceremony, candidates, friends of candidates and curious visitors were gathered at the third floor of the VEEM building. Lex ter Braak (former director of the Van Eyck Academy) was independent chairman of this year's jury formed by Irene Colicchio (sustainability engineer), Rianne Makkink (architect) and Arnold Tukker (environmental sciences director).
Together they brought together the necessary expertise to select only two winners from no less than 15 nominees. The award ceremony itself was moderated by Dutch television presenter Andrea van Pol who transformed this official moment into an enjoyable live-show.
New Material Award: Algea Lab Luma
New Material Award for Algea Lab Luma
Dutch designers Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dros received this year's New Material Award (including a € 15,000 grant) for their extensive algae research. In collaboration with a biologist, they are developing a closed system for seaweed cultivation that supplies both food and raw materials for the production of bio-polymers. One of their pilot projects is focused on the development of growing and harvesting local algae in Europe, avoiding the import of genetically modified corn or sugar cane from other continents. They are currently focusing on Spirulina (cyanobacteria), with different disciplines involving biologists and chemists, to develop the production of algae-based pellets on an industrial scale, for instance to create filaments for 3D printing.
Algae-based 3D printing filament
New Material Fellow: Blood Related
Blood-based record playing
The winner of this year's New Material Fellow is German designer Basse Stittgen. With this award he receives a € 5.000 grant and a six-month fellowship providing research support by the Het Nieuwe Instituut center for architecture, design and digital culture. Basse took a closer look at the (animal) reality that is part of our society's meat consumption. According to researcher Timothy Pachirat, the meat industry kills a cow every 12 seconds, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With these numbers in mind, Basse created objects made of (discarded) cow blood, and uses the symbolic meaning of blood to provoke our thinking and actions towards industrialized slaughter. A strong example is the blood-based record that plays a repeating sound referring to the cow's heartbeat. Since the fellowship is meant to further develop this research, we are curious about his next steps.
Recomposed Bamboo profiles
Dutch designer Chris Kabel is one of this year's nominees who fully focuses on bamboo. During a residency in Anji, China's bamboo capital near Shanghai, he researched the structural qualities of bamboo materials in collaboration with local manufacturers. Bamboo profiles have been cut and glued (recomposed) to cluster the long and strong fibers of the bamboo stem. The oval, triangular and almost square profiles result in an extremely stiff construction material. Chris would love to see these profiles in larger series and welcomes industrial partners to turn these alternate bamboo stems into production.
Re3 Glass stackable building blocks
The Re3 Glass project is nominated as a new approach to increase the sustainability of glass as a building material. The research project is conducted by Telesilla Bristogianni and Faidra Oikonomopoulou, two Greek PhD candidates at the Delft University of Technology. Their pressed-glass building materials brings together different strategies including the use of recycled glass, a casting process, clever geometries and an interlocking brick construction.
Bone-like bricks made of different types of recycling glass
The impressive potential of constructive glass can be seen at earlier built Crystal Houses by MVRDV Architects (2016) in Amsterdam. This facade was an important study object for their research demonstrating the challenges and importance of rethinking the shape of the bricks in order to improve the (seven months) construction process and future reuse.
Their new approach to glass bricks is that they are less brick and more bone-like pieces that can be stacked without the use of synthetic glue, allowing dismantling and reuse of the components. During their DDW Live presentation the audience is impressed by the diversity of phone displays, bottles and TV-screens–enormous waste streams with the potential to become Lego-like building blocks each with its own aesthetics.
Impact of tarnish remover on metal samples
Besides re-thinking of natural materials and developing recycling concepts for well-known industrial materials, human activities are also the source of creating new materials. Xandra van der Eijk's project was nominated for giving us a future outlook inspired by the recent discovery of new minerals which were formed in nature as by-product of human activity. In a similar way, her experimental project "Future Remnants" explores the reactions between metals and common household substances such as tarnish remover and drain cleaners. This materials experiment is a small probe of what is happening in the global landfills and chemical dump sites where all kinds of waste products (e.g. electronic waste and batteries) come together and react with our environment. Xandra's material samples give a possible preview of which new materials threats and opportunities (with unforeseen applications) today's landfills could bring for the future, our future.
Online Materials Archive
New Material Award exhibition at Dutch Design Week 2018
The New Material Award is a collaboration between the Dutch foundations "Stichting DOEN", "Fonds Kwadraat" and "Het Nieuwe Instituut". These organizations believe in the potential of artists, designers and architects to play a vital role in initiating new developments in society, and devising sustainable responses to urgent issues facing us today.
Since 2009, they have been selecting and documenting over 120 material entries. If you share their ambitions in creating a better future, check out their online archive at www.newmaterialaward.nl