Materials Education Symposia - Home

International 2016 Materials Education Symposium

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Material Driven Design

Dr Elvin Karana | TU Delft

Material Driven Design

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Materials research constantly evolves to offer novel, superior materials as better alternatives to convention (e.g. bio-based materials, smart materials, recycled and/or recyclable materials, etc.). In order to introduce these emerging materials to societies through proper applications, material scientists and industries involved in the development of new materials have reached out to academics and professionals in design, art, architecture and crafts (Miodownik, 2007). The challenge for designers in such 'Material Driven Design (MDD) projects is to arrive at an embodiment which highlights the unique qualities of a material from functional and experiential perspectives. This requires qualifying the material not only for what it is, but also for what it does (Manzini 1986), what it expresses to us, what it elicits from us (Karana et al., 2015), what it makes us do (Giaccardi and Karana, 2015). In order to support the MDD projects through such an understanding, we have recently developed a method to facilitate designing for material experiences when a particular material is the point of departure in the design process (Karana et al., in press). The MDD method has been used by a number of design students within a dedicated course on 'materials and design' given at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering (DUT). In informal discussions, students expressed their satisfaction in being led through a method which supported them to gain competences in exploring, understanding, defining and mobilizing unique material properties and experiential qualities in design. The method has also proved to be successful in helping design students to structure, communicate and reflect on their actions in design for material experiences.