With climate change at the forefront of our minds, the way we now think about our interactions with materials is now deeply entwined with issues of waste and sustainability.
For the 2022 edition of the Material Driven Innovation Awards, a series of design awards that explore meaning born from materials, we’re thinking big about the ways in which materials inspire better human well-being and living.
Embedded within its unique context of sustainable urban living, FabCafe Barcelona helped to open a series of MDIA events with a special edition of MTRL Meetup on February 11 at MOB (Markers of Barcelona). Guests were treated to insights from locally-based material innovators such as Salvador Tresserras (Baluard Models), Maja Javier Rojas (Mashua Project), Mario Ferrer (Servei Estació) and Magdalena Mojsiejuk.
Salvador Tresserras, CEO of Baluard Models, is a designer backed by more than 30 years of experience in modeling, prototyping and manufacturing special projects, as well as a list of past multinational clients such as Hewlett Packard and Panasonic. His company not only helps other designers to materialize their ideas, it also supports the implementation of sustainable materials in the design.
“We work for designers, entrepreneurs and companies, offering new materials that are produced as byproducts from industries such as food,” Tresserras says. “We can offer compounds to create lamps, decorative objects or furniture that are produced with nutshells, almond shells, coffee grounds or other byproducts.
“We keep researching to find new materials that can be recycled.”
As part of the Mashua Project umbrella, Bio Uncu Maker is an eco-friendly garment developed from Agar Agar bioplastic. Made from algae extracts, it is both a sustainable alternative to conventional textiles, as well as a new opportunity for regenerative fashion.
By combining current digital fabrication technology with the ancient knowledge and craft techniques of Peru, Maja Javier Rojas’ homeland, Bio Uncu Maker is a reinterpretation of the Inca’s textile clothing.
In fitting with this edition of MDIA, Rojas says it is important to focus on our “ecosystems” – including our skin, clothes and the home or office. “Our main mission is to improve the quality of living of our clients and their closest ecosystems,” she says. “We know that creating awareness through education is key, therefore our aim is to help them prevent accidents, injuries or illnesses by creating and promoting products and experiences related to a regenerative lifestyle.”
Servei Estació is Barcelona’s leading DIY one-stop shop; a multi-product store with more than 55,000 products and backed by almost 100 years of history. Despite being one of the city’s most traditional shops, the company prioritizes eco-friendly products and services, as part of their commitment to innovation and sustainable consumption.
According to Mario Ferrer, Servei Estació has been innovating for 90 years in the world of materials, providing solutions in creativity and design. “That is why it’s important for us to be close to creative people and the people that actually do things in this city,” he says.
According to Ferrer, Servei Estació has a materials-first outlook on the creative process. “Normally when a creative process is started, one figures out what properties are needed and materials are discarded until a few are left to choose from,” he says. “We propose the inverse process: From the materials we offer, we think what we can do from them.”
Artist/designer Magdalena Mojsiejuk’s works are primarily concerned with speculative design, designing futures and new technologies.
Her works have appeared in a number of design festivals, and she was selected as a “Future Innovator” for the 2018 Future Innovators Summit, as part of Ars Electronica. At this MTRL Meetup edition, Mojsiejuk spoke to audiences about materials she has recently engaged with – copper, salt and chocolate – and what it means to rediscover old materials in new contexts, be it new technology contexts, or new ways in which humans interact with the material, or the addition of new science-based properties.
One of Mojsiejuk’s most prominent works include the recontextualization of knit fabric, which has application mainly in fashion and upholstery, using a Kuka robot to knit copper wire structures. According to her, “The Knotty project shows that we can construct our world not from blocks or bricks, but knots and lines.”
About the 2022 Material Driven Innovation Award
The new award from MTRL, Material Driven Award is a series of design awards purpose-built for material innovators who wish to explore new material narratives.
For this Spring 2022 series, we are in search of materials that can inspire better human well-being and living. As we enter a new era of living, what innovative products and services might we create in order to cater to changing needs?
See the the winners of the award here.