New materials /// Closing Tabs

It really never ends. More interesting things occupying my browser space. Today I’ll be closing a number of tabs within the theme of “new materials.”

Bubble Wrap redesigned without the ‘Pop’

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Apparently the company that makes bubble wrap has come up with a version that doesn’t ‘pop’ when you squeeze it. It’s interesting to think about the alternative uses of products that were intended for something completely different, and how these alternative uses can begin to shape the nature of the product itself. There is a logic of efficiency that underlies the production of these products, but their unintentional use runs counter to that. Still, the company made sure to assure customers that the pop-able version would not be discontinued. also, January 26 is apparently bubble wrap appreciation day.


Radioactive Clay for Vases

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(Photo copyright Toby Smith/Unknown Fields)

A group of designers have created a set of vases that are made from tailing pond mud from China. The mud is apparently the waste product from a refinery process that produces rare earth metals for mobile devices and laptops. The designers produced three Ming-style vases, the sizes of which are determined by the amount of mud needed for a smartphone, a laptop and an electric car battery. The vases, which are dark, heavy, somber, and also quite radioactive, stand in stark contrast to the light, clean and bright electronics sold all across the world.


Nanocellulose materials with a marbelled look

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This process was something similar to what was being done at the Faculty of Forestry at the University of Toronto. The designer produced a small set of pieces that used nanocellulose fibers to help bind the material together. Apparently it can be formed in different densities and requires no additional binding chemicals (a known problem with MDF). The colours, I assume, come from a dyed mixture of fibers.


Multi-coloured, man-made marble

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This material, which was used to design a bathroom for Desgin Miami/Basel 2015, is a composite material made up of an aggregate of marble combined with polyester binder. The material reminds me of polished concrete or materials similar to that. It seems like the process to create this aggregate marble may be similar.


Corian – material from Dupont

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Dupont creates not only different chemicals, but also materials. One relatively new material they’ve produced is called Corian and is being used to create seamless surfaces. I think the material looks a bit strange though – it seems so matte that it hardly shows light patterns or slight reflection. It’s almost eerie, like a bad photoshop job, but in real life.


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