Material (in a Digital) World

Rocco from MateriaWhile a completely tactile web might still be a long ways off, materials are finding a new home in digital interfaces. As learning, shopping, and other interactions are increasingly encountered through screens, how does the design, architecture or fine arts student encounter materials?

One answer is Materia. It is a freely-accessible, online material explorer. Anyone can scroll through emerging and green materials or use a faceted material, sensorial or property search. This Netherlands-based site makes it a little bit easier for students and practicing professionals to imagine the tactile-effect of raw building materials.

For something beyond a faceted online search, Material ConneXion might be of interest. They are an international group providing in person experience with sustainable and cutting edge building materials and textiles as well as a subscription-based database. While they have a US-based materials library in New York, they also have a service for academic institutions to lease or buy a curated selection of items to have on-site. The cost and rate of innovation of new materials is high, having an expert’s insight into what is worthwhile is invaluable. Check out the video over at ArchDaily for a whirlwind tour!

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