(New York City) The medium was the message on February 4th when the global materials consultancy Material ConneXion hosted a celebration for the winner and 11 honorable mentions of its first annual MEDIUM Award for Material of the Year. The award— recognizes the most innovative of the past year’s juried selections for the company’s Materials Library with an eye toward the potential to make a significant contribution to the advancement of design, industry, society, and/or economy.
Concrete Cloth, a cement-impregnated flexible fabric from the UK-based Concrete Canvas, nabbed the inaugural 2009 honors for its groundbreaking ability to be quickly and easily transported, formed and set into shapes with the addition of water. According to Dr. Andrew H. Dent, Material ConneXion’s vice president of Library & Materials Research, “It is especially remarkable for enabling the construction of rapidly deployable shelter and food storage structures in disaster relief situations.” Needless to say, this oxymoronic textile has tremendous sculptural qualities, and at least one architect we know already has an idea for its use.
Concrete Cloth at Material ConneXion / courtesy Material ConneXion
On display through February 19th at Material ConneXion’s New York City base (60 Madison Avenue, 2nd Floor, Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm), Concrete Cloth shares the spotlight with the competition’s 11 international honorable mentions—a compelling mix of bio-tech and high-tech innovations. A brief overview follows for those who can't make the exhibit.
Metal Architectural Surfaces, by Quin Media Arts & Sciences (Canada), is a durable, 3-dimensional, exterior rainscreen cladding with digital imaging that appears to morph based on lighting conditions and the viewer’s perception.
Metal Architectural Surfaces / courtesy Material ConneXion
Xylogramm, by Keil GmbH (Germany), is an extremely precise CNC routing process applicable to a broad range of materials.
Xylogramm / courtesy Material ConneXion
Smart Sponge, by Abtech Industries (US), is a sponge-like material designed to combat water pollution through its ability to absorb oil but not water.
Smart Sponge / courtesy Material ConniXion
Curran, by Cellucomp (UK), is a sustainable high-strength bio-fiber formulated from degraded carrots with a stiffness that rivals carbon fiber.
Curran / courtesy Material ConneXion
Infigure, by Vestige Veneer (US), is a mechanical process that manipulates wood cell structure to produce a virtually limitless range of textural designs in veneers.
Infigure / courtesy Material ConneXion
Innegra S Fiber, by Innegrity (US), is said to be the lightest high-performance fiber on the market—an affordable alternative to Kevlar—for composite ballistics fabrics providing excellent durability and strength for sporting goods, marine and automotive applications.
Innegra S fiber / courtesy Material ConneXion
Connex 3D Material Printers, by Objet Geometries (Israel), are recognized for their ability to simultaneously jet multiple materials with different properties into the same object, enabling the creation of prototypes and models that are far closer in form to the desired end product.
Connex 3D Multiple Materials Printers / courtesy Material ConneXion
Liquid Silicone Rubber LSR 7070, by Momentive Performance Materials (US), is a transparent silicone notable for its outstanding optical clarity, efficient and economical manufacturing process, and ability to produce highly complex optical components that are said to surpass those made with traditional thermoplastic materials or glass.
Liquid Silicone Rubber LSR 7070 / courtesy Material ConneXion
Octamold, by Octamold Technologies (Switzerland), provides a lower cost alternative to honecomb paneling with similarly stiff and lightweight properties and the ability to hold screws and other hardware.
Octamold / courtesy Material ConneXion
Millad NX8000, by Milliken Chemical (US), is a chemical additive that achieves clarity at a level never before seen in polypropylene (PP), a clean, lowcost, and low-toxicity recyclable plastic, allowing it to be used in a wider range of packaging and consumer product applications.
Millad NX8000 / courtesy Material ConneXion
Pebax Rnew, by Arkema (US) has been cited as one of the most sustainable elastomer alternatives for consumer, sports, and footwear applications due to its composition of up to 95% plant-based materials.
Pebax Rnew / courtesy Material ConneXion