Health emergency, pandemic, lockdown, restart, the 2020 has prompted topics common to any discussion table, without sparing the world of materials. Prevention, spacing, barriers to contagion, permanence on surfaces and disinfection are the crucial debates that have defined new value scales on materials based on the contingent, functional and safety-related priorities, setting new evaluation criteria and new trends.
A special arms race resulted in a meticulous research and selection of the best performing ones, to structure defence against contagion: from masks to visors, gloves, dividers and physical spacers.
Over time, we have gone from defence to caution, a phase in which the prospect has further widened. The variables to be kept under control have increased, making reasoning that includes work, sociability, public places and transport crucial. The speculations towards the materials then took on the appearance of a caveat ranking.
So, how do we orient ourselves in terms of material solutions? In which design direction and in what terms will the materials play a central role?
A new normality is now conceivable only if supported by reassuring conditions of individual protection and comfort. A scenario of functional well-being attentive to the person and combined in an aesthetic alchemy of sensoriality and ergonomics, is only one of the possible ways.
At the same time, such a traumatic and important theme crosses, and inevitably will cross, the artistic gaze, often irreverent and provocative, capable of dismantling certainties and archetypes, restoring them in an ironic way, triggering doubt and proposing disorientation also of techniques and materials.
Materially has activated some areas of study drawing on its historical experience in the world of materials, combining the search for material innovation with new needs and emerging scenarios.
Working with its usual design-oriented approach and attention to the issues of the Circular Economy and intelligent innovation, Materially (since ever) puts materials at the centre of the business strategy, addressing both producers and users. On this particular juncture, which we call Safe Re-Start, the team of researchers of Materially has developed a particular work tool: a new tool to orientate in the complexity of new and existing materials that manufacturers offer and that the market requires. A sort of reasoned catalogue in which to find possible material solutions to your design needs.
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