As part of its internationalisation programme – which focuses on material innovation, design and sustainability – Het Nieuwe Instituut has started collaborating with Vitra Design Museum. In this context, a design talk will take place on Thursday, 21 September, in the Vitra Design Museum, with designers Christien Meindertsma and Maurizio Montalti as guest speakers. Under the rubric The Material Revolution, they will talk about their quest to create more sustainable materials and designs, a development in which they play an important role with their research.
Concerns about sustainability have in recent years resulted in unconventional materials, including biodegradable plastics, leather made from fish skin, or material made from mycelium fungus. Designers are indispensable in the development process that Christien Meindertsma and Maurizio Montalti talk about during their presentation. Various aspects of sustainability are addressed: from developing a widely applicable and climate-neutral biomaterial (mycelium) to the local production of flax from raw material to a final product, and a biodegradable seat made from flax fibre and polylactic acid (PLA) in close collaboration with Label Breed and industrial partner Enkev.
The event also acknowledges the fact that the work of the 2016 New Material Award nominees is included in the material library of the Schaudepot of the Vitra Design Museum, including work by Meindertsma and Montalti. Some time ago, Vitra Design Museum decided to include Meindertsma’s Flax Chair in the Schaudepot’s collection.
Christien Meindertsma explores the life of products and raw materials. For her first book, Checked Baggage (2004), Meindertsma purchased a container filled with a week's worth of objects confiscated at security checkpoints in Schiphol Airport after 9/11. She meticulously categorized all 3267 items and photographed them on a white seamless background. Meindertsma’s second book, PIG 05049 (2007), is an extensive collection of photographic images that documents an astounding array of products that different parts of an anonymous pig called 05049 could support. With this book, Christien Meindertsma reveals lines that link raw materials with producers, products and consumers that have become so invisible in an increasingly globalized world. With her designs Meindertsma aims to regain understanding of processes that have become so distant in industrialization. Her work has been exhibited in MoMA (New York), The V&A (London) and the Cooper Hewitt Design museum (New York). For her book PIG 05049 she won three Dutch Design Awards (2008) as well as an Index award (2009). For the Flax Chair she won last year the Dutch Design Award and the Future Award.
Strongly characterised by a creative trans-disciplinary approach and rooted in a collaborative, research-based and experimental practice, Maurizio Montalti’s work tends toward the exploration of the design discipline, aiming to investigate and reflect upon contemporary (material) culture, thereby creating new opportunities and visions both for the (creative) industry and for the broader social spectrum. He often actively collaborates with professionals from other disciplines in a co-creative process, to arrive at thought-provoking solutions and design outcomes. His work spans across various mediums, previously exploring themes in relation to biotechnology, anthropology, bio- diversity, the ecosystem and the human impact on it, recent production technologies, and the importance of a symbiotic entanglement between natural life-forms, for an alternative advancement of society. The fascination for the micro-scale, together with a holistic vision of the world as a macro-organism animated by symbiotic relationships are some of Montalti’s main drives.