Technogym
Technogym
Technogym

Innovation

Material world

A useful resource for architects and designers, the SCIN Gallery is an independent materials library created to showcase some of the latest, most extraordinary new materials


Founded by Annabelle Filer and Graham Cox, the SCIN Gallery curates external exhibitions and opens its library, by appointment, to clients – often designers and architects – looking for specific material advice.

The materials can be used in many different design disciplines, and some trending agencies are now taking advantage of the gallery to assist with future forecasts.

Here, co-founder Annabelle Filer, who is also SCIN creative director, explains the purpose of the SCIN Gallery, how it can be used, and reveals current and future trends in materials.

Why was the SCIN Gallery set up?
SCIN, which is short for Surfaces Covering Interiors, was initially set up in 2003 to bring new materials to the general public. It coincided with an increasing interest in interior design, as demonstrated through the plethora of new media opportunities that were opening up.

It was conceived as a series of interior design toolkits that had 10 different materials inside, from laminate to leather to wall coverings, and backed up by a magazine that gave suggestions as to how they could be used. 

We created five publications to showcase them but found that the materials were still too complicated for the general public to want to use, and we saw that it was architects and designers who were actually buying the toolkits, as it gave them a collection of many samples.

As time went on, architects and designers asked us to help them find other materials and so we created a small library and started to get involved in materials research.

Who uses the gallery today?
We’re used by architects and designers from every area of design. We also have hoteliers, developers, leisure operators, students and the design-savvy public, as well as retail, buyers and trend forecasters.

We’re starting to get more interest from educational establishments and we have many alliances and trade federations too. We’re also finding that the digital community is increasingly interested in the SCIN Gallery.

How do you source and find the materials?
We have been searching for materials for over 10 years and have established many different avenues in that time.

There is one rule we do have and that’s to not use other material libraries, but we’re very happy if we reach the same conclusions and if they come to us.

We also have both an online and offline community that likes to tell us about materials they’ve found, and there is a team of researchers all with their own material specialisms. We’re also prepared to wade through some of the very mundane trade periodicals that specialise in certain material markets.

Curiosity drives us and I think we all have a little bit of the geek within us. Since we began, the internet has become a far more accessible place and there are many more design blogs, as well as scientific papers out there. 

What is interesting is that finding materials for a specific use, or finding new materials, is much more difficult that you would think.

What trends are you seeing in material design?
Commercially we’re looking at the following trends in materials:

‘Size Zero’ materials
We want super lightweight yet robust materials. Composites are a natural ally for this, and even concrete is part of this, with concrete panels being created using carbon fibre reinforcement or with unusual admixtures such as ‘TX Active’. These break down carbon monoxide pollution and in doing so, clean the concrete. There is also nanostone – a stone veneer less than 1mm thick – and all sorts of poured resins as well as large format thin ceramic tiles.

‘Playful’ materials
We’re having more fun with materials, and while still obsessed with concrete and solid acrylics and glass, 3D sculptural panels and bold acoustic materials are in demand.

‘Multi Taskers’ – the new smart generation
These must be strong, yet translucent or beautiful and of acoustic merit. We emphasise that they’re low maintenance, scratch resistant and glossy or non-slip and smooth. 

Phase-change materials or coatings that create ambient temperature by absorbing or releasing captured heat can be applied as coatings, such as ‘Carbo-e-Therm’, or used in glazing for tiles. Materials can also conduct electricity and respond to external stimuli, such as Water Light Graffiti, which uses moisture sensitive LEDs to work as paint, forming ephemeral art pieces or urban tags.

Materials are moving from the core markets they were created for and can find themselves being ‘repurposed’. Medical plastics are becoming more mainstream in product or interior design; clear cellulose, which was originally insulation within train panels, is finding its way into glazing; and filtration textiles such as ‘Sefar’ polymers are coated with a metal coating to be used in architectural façades.

Future materials
As we continue to try to increase the pace of our lives in the name of efficiency and as we increasingly expose ourselves online, there’ll be – and in fact there already has been – a backlash. Materials are able to contribute to wellbeing and privacy.

The notion that materials are more than just decorative or supportive is part of the new excitement in this particular area. Material innovation is rapidly changing the world of design and architecture.

Future materials

Reconfiguring: We’ll be able to adapt materials at a molecular level to alter their properties where needed.

Water capture: We’ll find ways to capture water in buildings – possibly through new façade materials.

Dynamic: We’ll see materials that sense and alter their state, and memory materials that convey information or analyse and process it to adapt themselves. 

Bacteria and algae: These will become more important. We’re seeing bacteria being used for self healing/growth, as well as being able to grow materials into the finished product. 

New processes: 3D printing will evolve – but using waste streams, or being combined with bio engineering.

Response: Lessons learned from defence against terrorism will be used in other areas: auxetic materials which expand on impact and then return to their original state will find uses in other forms of energy capture, and textiles will be more widely used.

Waste (emissions, landfills, food, human excrement/decay): Landfills will become the new quarry for raw materials. We’ll use man-made CO2 and – I suspect – human waste and food waste as a feedstock.

New sustainable breeds: Finding natural solutions to fibre-reinforced plastic. Can natural fibre ultimately work with a bioresin?  

Calcium carbonate: Can this become an important building material?

Insects: Chitin from insects is an interesting new polymer and building block.

The sea: oceans are an important, underused source of materials and materials inspiration.  

SCIN SHOWCASE

A selection of some of the most interesting and diverse materials in the SCIN collection, as chosen by Annabelle Filer

Structural Skin

Spanish designer Jorge Penadés has devised a new production method that transforms the apparently worthless waste from leather factories into an innovative material that is made 100 per cent from an animal source. The result is Structural Skin, a material that Penadés says could be used for creating furniture, flooring, tiles and shoes soles.

Water Light Graffiti

Water Light Graffiti from Art2M is a wall composed of several thousand water sensitive LEDs. When water is splashed onto it, a circuit is completed allowing the user to ‘paint’ with light.

Superslim concrete

Germany’s Paulsberg creates furniture using concrete with 3D textile reinforcement.

Bioplastic

Made from beetle shells and chitin, bioplastic has great future potential as we bring bugs into our food diets. Chitin is the second most common biopolymer with some interesting technical properties including self healing.

Conductive ink

London-based design and technology company Bare Conductive has produced a range of electrically conductive paint and sensor hardware that are changing the way electronics and intelligence are incorporated into the built environment.

Concrete and linen

An unusual decorative hybrid and a union between a textile designer and an architect, Tactility Factory applies digital stitching to linen concrete to give a unique finish.ww

Formcard

FORMcard™ is a pocket sized card of strong, meltable bio-plastic that can be moulded into new forms or used to fix broken plastic objects. Launched by London-based designer Peter Marigold in November 2015 following a crowdfunding campaign, the FORMcard becomes mouldable when hot – it is dropped into a cup of hot water and is then ready to use.

FFL technology

FFL technology is a flat, flexible loudspeaker created from a number of laminated materials that can be used in a curved or spherical format for more rounded sound design or in a flat panel where the sound is directed at 90 degrees from the speaker.

Softwood

Albeflex has created innovative wood veneers laminated onto a foam back which can be used in a vast number of different industrial sectors.

GlassX

Phase-change glass for façades alters its transparency state depending on the internal temperature, absorbing and releasing heat energy as temperature fluctuates. GlassX lets architects flood spaces with natural light and reduces a building’s heating and cooling load.

Gorilla Glass

Corning’s Gorilla Glass will not distort an image when curved. It was designed originally for mobile phone technology.

Elastic conductive tape

German fabric company AMOHR produces elastic conductive tape ideal for wearables and smart textiles. The wires are are stitched in a curve in order to allow them to stretch with the fabric.

Gallery
Click on an image to open the image gallery
featured supplier
Featured Supplier: CSI Design Expo Americas 2024 announces new Attractions & Entertainment Technology Zone
Cruise Ship Interiors (CSI) invites cruise lines, shipyards, design studios, outfitters, and suppliers to take part in CSI Design Expo Americas in Miami, Florida, the region’s only event dedicated to cruise ship interior design.
company profile
Company profile: Willmott Dixon
Willmott Dixon delivers the social infrastructure that people depend on in their daily lives. We partner with our customers to focus on the services they want to provide, not just the building we construct, and we are committed to achieving a higher social purpose through our work.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
Natural materials have been used throughout
NYC-based designer Clodagh
"We were blown away by the light, colours and endless fields of grape vines"

The designer of Six Senses' first European resort

Cleveland’s Public Square features a new park by JCFO
James Corner
"Landscape is something personally experienced, almost subconsciously"

Landscape architects are the unsung heroes shaping our public realm, says the High Line designer

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
Atelier Ten are providing environmental consulting services for the Downtown Doha master plan, which includes a hotel, shopping mall and spa
Atelier Ten's Younha Rhee
"Pushing for more daylighting has led to overglazed buildings in the last two decades where visual comfort has been compromised"

Designing buildings that support wellbeing is a growing trend which will transform the way we think about architecture says Younha Rhee

Beckham signed for MLS franchise LA Galaxy a decade ago
Beckham has purchased the land he needs for a stadium
"Now’s the time for MLS to move forward in helping us deliver the soccer club that Miami has been waiting for"

Miami soccer stadium land sale gets approval

The partners, left to right: Dr Markus Jatsch, Martha Schwartz, Charlotte Wilberforce, Elke Selby
Martha Schwartz
"No one is taking the issue of climate change seriously. Some bad things will have to happen before there is a change"

The outspoken landscape architect on climate change, bagels and being controversial

features
"Now we’re talking about pedestrians as the most important members of the street community"

The new US neighbourhood designed to improve the health of its residents

One of Starck’s guestrooms
Kravitz and Starck worked on the project
"A cheeky interpretation of luxury hospitality"

Collaborate on the W Las Vegas

Andreas Nygaard
"Should a thousand year wave occur, you’ll be completely safe"

A sneak preview of one of the world’s largest underwater restaurants

cladkit product news
Mather & Co and ITV unite to create Coronation Street Experience
Mather & Co has transformed the visitor centre into the ultimate haven for ardent Coronation Street viewers
Magali Robathan
Experience designers, Mather & Co, have orchestrated a remarkable collaboration with ITV to unveil the new Coronation Street Experience, a ...
Alberto Apostoli designs tech-forward Wellness Therapy furniture collection for Varaschin
The furniture collection draws on absolute geometries, pure lines, neutral colours and strong references to nature
Megan Whitby
Furniture manufacturer Varaschin has unveiled the new Wellness Therapy range, designed by Italian spa and wellness architect and designer Alberto ...
Codelocks develops new glass door smart lock
The new lock model allows facilities and building managers to create and manage access via an app or online portal
Megan Whitby
Codelocks has launched its first glass door smart lock to bring intelligent access control to modern spa, leisure, fitness and ...
cladkit product news
Siminetti unveils iridescent decorative panelling range inspired by plants
The Clematis design
Megan Whitby
The Botanicals is Siminetti’s newest Mother of Pearl decorative panelling collection, inspired by the distinctive patterns found in botany and ...
Alberto Apostoli and Newform collaborate to launch the A.Zeta showerhead
The showerhead offers two modes; rainfall or waterfall
Megan Whitby
Italian architect Alberto Apostoli has renewed his partnership with Newform – an Italian wellness company – and designed A.Zeta. A.Zeta ...
Eco Resort Network conference to convene in Mauritius this May
The event will be hosted in the Mauritius in 2024
Megan Whitby
Hospitality industry event Eco Resort Network is set to take place at the Ravenala Attitude Hotel, Turtle Bay, Mauritius, from ...
cladkit product news
Jaffe Holden helps bring Academy Museum of Motion Pictures alive
Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics for the Academy Museum
Magali Robathan
Acoustical consulting firm Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics and audio/video design services for the recently opened Academy Museum of Motion ...
Koto Design introduces wood-fired hot tub
Koto is known for crafting modular, energy-neutral cabins and homes
Katie Barnes
A striking wood-fired hot tub has been unveiled by Koto, an architecture and design studio which has a passion for ...
Eden project uses drones to spell out climate change warning
Magali Robathan
Almost 300 drones were used to signal an environmental message above the Eden Project’s biomes, during the UN Climate Change ...
x
Email this to a friend or colleague
I am happy for Leisure Media to contact me occasionally by email and understand that I can opt out at any time.
Innovation: Material world
The SCIN Gallery's Annabelle Filer on the exciting new materials shaping our buildings
Technogym
Technogym