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During Salone del Mobile, on 6 April 2017, Het Nieuwe Instituut organised its second expert meeting for the International Materials & Design Network. This network was founded in 2016 at Het Nieuwe Instituut’s initiative to stimulate the exchange of knowledge and ideas in the field of innovation in materials, design and sustainability. The network consists of a diverse group, including professionals from science, design, education and intermediary organisations, and focuses on developing international exchanges and partnerships.

Material innovation as a remedy for climate change

At the end of the meeting, Christine Vroom of Het Nieuwe Instituut rounded off by placing materials and sustainability in the framework of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Accord, which set an ambitious agenda at international level, stressing the urgency of the issue for the entire world. This agenda’s near horizon of 2030 calls for profound changes on many levels, as is reflected in regional development agendas, and concrete local goals. Material use and innovative design are also important factors in sustainability and the prevention of climate change. As suggested in the previous meeting, thinking about a broad ‘materials agenda’ in this area is an idea that we can work out in a follow-up session.

Designers and artists have long been contributing to this ongoing conversation, and form the link between science and experimentation. In addition, their innovative approach and designs inspire and offer new perspectives to lessen environmental impact. These range from recycling, upcycling, waste as ‘new’ material, local produce, and biodesign to sketching a future that sometimes exceeds our imagination. These are works by designers, architects and artists who inspire hope in a more sustainable future and encourage thinking about more sustainable policies, organisations, industry and political governance.

The following people were present at the expert meeting:

  • Sabrina Lucibello, Sapienza University of Rome (Italy)
  • Carla Langella, hybrid design lab, University Luigi Vanvitelli (Italy)
  • Unai Etxebarria, Material ConneXion, Bilbao (Spain)
  • Diana Drewes, Haute Innovation, Berlin (Germany)
  • Sasha Peters, Haute Innovation, Berlin (Germany)
  • Stefano Parisi, University ‘Politecnico di Milano’ (Italy)
  • Francesca Maccagnan, sustainable designer NUUP (Italy)
  • Barbara Pollini, sustainable designer NUUP and professor at NABA (Italy)
  • Diana Scherer, Artist and New Material Fellow (Netherlands)
  • Yu-Lan van Alphen, DOEN Foundation (Netherlands)
  • Maurizio Montalti, Officina Corpuscoli (Netherlands)
  • Fiona Anastas, Material ConneXion, New York (US)
  • Christian Tubito, Material ConneXion Italia (Italy)
  • Tomáš Hendrych, Happy Materials, Prague (Czech Republic)
  • Lucie Havlova, Happy Materials, Prague (Czech Republic)
  • Efrat Friedland, Materialscout, Munich (Germany)
  • Elodie Ternaux, matériO (France)
  • Marinella Ferrara, University ‘Politecnico di Milano’ (Italy)
  • Valérie Bergeron, Materfad (Spain)
  • Christine Vroom, Het Nieuwe Instituut (Netherlands) 

International Materials & Design Network