Ten Super Cool Materials for Creative Design

Best of the Blog 2010 — materials

While our minds may be jumping around the virtual playground, our bodies ultimately engage with objects through their physical materiality.

Materials are the original user interface, and sometimes all it takes to create a successful design is the use of a compelling material.

Here’s a look at ten super cool materials guaranteed to result in design creativity.

#10 Silicone

Silicone is way under-used if you ask us. Easy to clean, awesome thermal properties, fun to touch, and — from the looks of these placemats from Modern Twist — fun to color too!

#9 Fabric, Timber, Plastic, Rubber, Paper, and
Metal Material Suppliers

This is a great round-up of suppliers you can contact to request sheet materials for your creative projects. Perfect for lasercutting.

#8 Materials at ICFF 2010

This article highlights many of the materials found at this past year’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair. Big trends included other-worldly acrylics, dimensional fabrics, and *a lot* of unpainted wood.

#7 Smart Materials Kit + Fashioning Technology

The fabric and fashion industries don’t always get the limelight they deserve when it comes to tech geekery. But men and women of the cloth, so to speak, are creating some of the coolest materials around.

Get an intro course and start smart crafting yourself with this material starter kit and DIY guide book.

#6 3D Printable Materials from Ponoko

3D printing is the buzz and the bees knees. So as “the world’s easiest making system”, it was only appropriate that Ponoko get in the game. If you’ve ever wanted to make your very own 3D printed stuff, take a look at our five 3D printable materials.

#5 3D Printed Ceramics

Pottery is a centuries old craft, remains of which are some of the earliest artifacts of human civilization. The history of ceramics continues to evolve as people are now experimenting with 3D printing clays and binders.

This article takes a look at one artist who is creating 3D printed ceramics that are technically impossible to achieve with traditional techniques.

#4 Organic Matter Paint

A bit conceptual, a bit in beta; this experimental organic matter paint is basically a thick substance that provides an environment for simple plant life and bacteria.

Think of it as agar (that goop you put in a petri dish) in paint form. Spray it, and given the right amount of moisture and sunlight, your design will literally come alive.

Intended for creating “green graffiti”, the 100% biodegradable has all kinds of interesting applications for eco art and marketing.

#3 Faux Stone Acrylics

The associations that come to mind when you think of “plastic” probably don’t include words like “beautiful”, “luxury”, or “high-end”.

But plastic’s reputation is getting an overhaul thanks to some truly gorgeous patterns and textures that have been recently developed.

This collection of faux stone and marble acrylic sheeting is beautiful enough for a palazzo!

#2 Human Bone China

Animals create some of history’s most precious materials like purple dye, pearls, ivory.

Now it’s our turn. One ceramist is turning crematory ashes into works of human bone china. (Based on commission of course. No poaching or grave robbing!)

#1 Conductive Body Paint

This skin safe, conductive ink allows an electric current to travel along the contours of the body.

Developed by a four art school students, the conductive ink lets you paint electronic circuitry directly onto skin.

Check out the music video of indie synth-popper and producer to the stars, Calvin Harris, creating a human synthesizer with girls wearing the paint.