What Matter_s press release (2018)

10 Encounters Between Science and Design
Dutch Design Week
20–28 October 2018

Earlier this year, 10 design studios in the Skåne region of southern Sweden were paired with 10 scientists at the cutting edge of materials research. Their brief was simple: spend six months exploring a new material, and then show us what it can do. On 20 October, at Dutch Design Week Eindhoven, the results of these unique collaborations will be revealed.

Moore information below photos…

We live in a world of depleting resources, of planet-damaging plastics and energy-hungry production processes. To survive, the design industry of tomorrow cannot rely on the materials of yesterday; there is a global need to find new ways of making, to develop new, sustainable materials and to find new applications for those that are naturally abundant but have been thus far neglected.

What Matter_s is a collaboration between Southern Sweden Creatives, Form/Design Center, SPOK, and Art and Science Initiative. Curated by designer and coordinator Nina Warnolf, the project aims to put the latest materials, insights and technology from the frontiers of science into the hands of designers keen to experiment with new materials, while giving scientists a rare opportunity to discover how their specialist knowledge might be realised in the design world. Because many manufacturers are often reluctant to risk taking on new experimental materials without a compelling commercial precedent, pioneering thinking often remains siloed in academic institutions for years. What Matter_s represents an attempt to unleash it.

‘We have been exploring and trying things that we don’t have opportunity to do in our everyday work and we can see interesting synergies when combining expertise from two completely different areas and creating something new. It’s a challenging and creative way of working.’
– Superlab

Each of the 10 designer/researcher pairs has been exploring a particular material for six months, with the researchers bringing their wide-reaching understanding of its chemistry, behaviours and properties, and the designers introducing curiosity, a fresh creative perspective and an eye for product opportunities into the mix. The materials range from the natural and ancient (such as chitin, hemp and spider silk) to the synthetic and hypermodern, (including bioplastics, nanowires and graphene), and even to the abstract and theoretical realm of algorithms.

Their task has been, not necessarily to create a new product or prototype (although many have done precisely this), but to find ways of translating often-complex research into meaningful, visually engaging forms; to tell the stories of their shared experimental process, and to demonstrate the potential that these new, untapped materials might have to solve the design challenges of tomorrow.

Press images & films
Press kit with high resolution images, films and project texts are available here for downloading >>

Silk Lab
– Designers Andreas Kojcevski Hansson & Siri Skillgate and biomaterials expert Dr Cedric Dicko demonstrate ways of reengineering liquid spider silk into new, non-fibre forms.

Graphenogram – Andréason & Leibel draw on the expertise of 2D materials specialist PhD Student Virgínia Boix to explore a new application for wonder-material graphene – in photography.

In Vitro Printer – Industrial designer Jenny Nordberg joins forces with orthopaedics researcher Prof Magnus Tägil to develop a human-powered 3D printer that replicates the natural process of bone healing.

Polarised Portraits – Kajsa Willner channels Prof Dmytro Orlov’s understanding of polarised light to create a series of beautifully colourful design objects that draw attention to the environmental impact of plastic.

MATching – Korean-born, Malmö-based designer Kunsik Choi explores the aesthetic poetry of bioplastics with a series of colourful handmade plant pots inspired by the research of biotechnologist Prof Rajni Hatti-Kaul.

Gleather Glubber – Designer Petra Lilja taps into Dr Ramune Kuktaite and Bill Newson’s knowledge of plant-based biomaterials to showcase the colours, textures and forms that can be created from gluten-based bioplastics.

Grain – Petter Thörne and bio-based building materials expert Dr Paulien Strandberg uncover new aesthetic possibilities for the industrial by-product hemp shiv.

Living Systems – Studio Aikieu collaborates with biotechnology and chemical engineering researcher Dr Solmaz Hajizadeh to transform chitin – a hugely abundant biopolymer from the shells of crustaceans – into a design material for furniture and sculpture.

Artificial Intelligent Architecture and Interior Design – Experimental design company Superlab and AI expert Dr Axel Nordin demonstrate the potential of algorithms to design human-centred workspaces – without the input of an architect.

Array – Experimental studio Wang & Söderström join forces with nanotechnologists Prof Magnus Borgström and Dr Vilgailė Dagytė to visualise and replicate the remarkable energy-harvesting properties of one of the smallest and most versatile structures in modern tech, the nanowire.

Each of these designer/researcher teams presents the outcome of their collaboration at the What Matter_s exhibition at Veem | Floor 2, Torenallee 36, 5617 BE Eindhoven for the duration of Dutch Design Week. The project is accompanied by a series of short films exploring the materials and concepts behind each collaboration – all available to view here.

‘Science can be such a huge inspiration source if you just start look into it; it is not a closed bubble as you might have thought. We have learned that scientist and designers are not so different after all.’
– Wang & Söderström

For more information about the What Matter_s project and exhibition, please contact Terese Alstin at terese@formdesigncenter.com.

What Matter_s
20–28 October 2018

Veem | Floor 2
Torenallee 36
5617 BE Eindhoven

The DDW press center can be found at the DDW office (rear entrance, via Leidingstraat). Journalists, bloggers, photographers and camera crews can get a press pass and information pack here. The center is open every day from 10.00-17.00.


About Southern Sweden Creatives
Southern Sweden Creatives is a three-year project set up to help small and medium-sized companies in the cultural and creative industries to grow internationally through professional business development, international exposure, and national coordination. The project focuses on southern Swedish companies that work primarily with film, digital games, digital media and design. The project is co-funded by The EU Regional Development Fund and The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth.

About Form/Design Center
Form/Design Center is a meeting place, a venue for inspiration and a knowledge hub within architecture and design, located in Malmö, Sweden. At Form/Design Center you can visit exhibitions, our shop and café, or take part in workshops and lectures. Form/Design Center is also a platform for the design industry and a partner in selected development projects.

Form/Design Center is run by Svensk Form Syd, a non-profit organization and part of Svensk Form; the Swedish Society of Crafts and Design. The Center is funded with support from the City of Malmö, Region Skåne and the Swedish Arts Council.

About SPOK
Founded by Jenny Nordberg in Skåne, SPOK (Samtida Produktion och Konsumtion – ‘Contemporary Production and Consumption’) is a platform for production aimed at gathering and disseminating knowledge about local manufacturing opportunities, ranging from craft to industry. Its aim is to promote local production development leading, in the long term, to more local consumption.


About Art & Science Initiative
Art & Science Initiative is a platform that brings the exploratory nature of both art and science to a new arena – creating knowledge from passion-driven interdisciplinary collisions and accelerating their implementation into real-world solutions.


Curator: Nina Warnolf

Graphic Design: HolsterGreen

Material & Portrait Photo + Film: Andy Dunn, Zetteler 

Product Photo: Fanny Hansson, Sylvie

Further Projects