Photo courtesy of Material Connexion.

Material Connexion, a material solution platform and library based in New York, said it will introduce its “Innovation Wall” as a design service for brands and creative firms. The initiative will begin in spring 2018.

Described as a “report on a wall,” Material Connexion will work alongside brands’ product development teams to create customized, goal-oriented content that integrates textile and material concepts into internal hanging gallery spaces. Four customizable content options are available for purchase: Colors, Materials and Finish, Industry Topic, Material Topic and Color Trend. Several top Fortune 500 companies have signed on for 2018 delivery, according to the firm. Content will be refreshed quarterly to continuously introduce seasonal trends and design inspiration as the service enables access to Material Connexion’s global manufacturer network and material expertise.

Andrew Dent, the executive vice president of research at Material Connexion and chief material scientist at Sandow, told WWD, “Creating new materials is a long and laborious process, often with no immediate application beyond the proof that it exists. Developing new materials for a given application typically requires an existing material adapted to suit the needs of a new set of requirements.” When collaborating with brands, this process can be streamlined “since the heavy lifting of ‘creation’ has already been done.”

The library at Material Connexion. Photograph courtesy of Material Connexion. 

Material Connexion’s library offers over 8,000 material samples in its flagship New York space and thousands more materials via its online database. Over 40 new materials and processes are added each month and its ever-expanding library can be accessed by members only: currently, the firm boasts over 1 million active members worldwide. It offers seven full-service locations across three continents in New York, Bangkok, Bilbao, Daegu, Milan, Skövde and Tokyo, in addition to global satellite offices and university libraries. The firm was founded by George M. Beylerian in 1997, built on the belief that “every idea has a material solution”— it has since created over 20 award-winning products in collaboration with its consulting team. Sandow purchased the firm in 2011.

An “Innovation Wall” by Material Connexion. Photograph courtesy of Material Connexion. 

Material categories are organized according to chemical makeup: Carbon-based; cement-based; ceramic; glass; metal; natural; polymer, and processes. Each material is mounted on a “tabula” that includes a product description, sustainability information, material categorization, a QR code that links to the library’s online database and a bar code that can be scanned and saved into members’ accounts. And each material states its proprietary Material Connexion number: the first four digits are the material manufacturer number and the last two digits correspond to the number of materials sourced from that manufacturer, the firm said. Its online database enables users to access complete product information, technical specifications, images, application information and manufacturer contact details for each material.

According to Dent, notable emerging technologies in material science include moisture transport, specifically the Hydro bot from Osmotex AG; the use of waste material from Studio Woojai and its PaperBricks, which are made of recycled newspapers; Novomer’s plastics manufactured from CO2 waste and the continued expansion of 3D printing by the likes of Markforged, a company that 3-D prints desktop metals.

And Dent said he expects to see several new trends over the next five years, including “greater acceptance of ‘waste’ as a resource and design component, expansion of IOT to almost everything except, probably, apparel and more fabrics on surfaces that are more traditionally made from plastics in home appliances and electronics.”

For More Textile News From WWD, See:

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DNA Technology Supports Supply Chain Traceability

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