Ian Hunter and Kingston University London
Ian Hunter, Materials Council
Professor Louis Nixon, Kingston University London
Fighting flatness – New methods of material selection in the digital age.
Architects and designers are increasingly removed from the reality of their designs, screen based interactions such as CAD designs, pre-rendered textures and PDF documents detach us from the materiality of materials. Simultaneously technological advancements and globalisation has seen a dramatic explosion in the amount of materials available.
In his residency with Kingston University Ian Hunter from the Materials Council explored the potential to pair a physical materials library with a digital platform in order to aid and inspire more creative material solutions. Simultaneously the project worked to reinvigorate Kingston’s existing materials library, ReMaterialise, using it as a test bed for their ideas and creating an exemplary model for how a materials library can work.
Approaching the challenge the collaboration conducted primary research via face to face interviews with architects, designers and students, released a research survey, and hosted roundtable discussions with academics from Kingston University. Additionally second hand research involved the study of other material resources and related facilities from museums and galleries, as well as academic reading.
Outcomes from Fighting Flatness included the auditing of Kingston’s ReMaterialise library and its relocation and redesign in a new space. The partnership was able to secure additional investment to improve the library and Hunter applied theoretical insights from his past experience and research to the curation. The collaboration was also successful in developing a prototype digital tool which aims to link the physical, visceral experience of materials with an information rich digital environment. Developments to improve the tool are already underway.
Subsequent to the residency the Materials Library has developed a series of ten lectures per annum for students across Kingston. They are now looking at releasing their long term goal of establishing a network of materials libraries.
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