Material_S is fully devoted to the world of materials and is intended to express, explore, and push the boundaries of their potential

This year Design Dome, a curated satellite event within Shenzhen Creative Week, has launched Material_S, a new platform curated by the industrial designer Tommaso Masera.

Design Dome is the first dedicated design event in Shenzhen, become the most influential design-oriented platform in the region, curating the latest innovations in contemporary furniture, the best international brands, and impactful trends & thought leadership.

Tommaso Masera believes that the world of materials deserves a dedicated space in such a context, in the contemporary design discourse and innovation.   

Material_S is fully devoted, as the name suggests, to the world of materials and is intended to express, explore, and push the boundaries of their potential. The idea is to demonstrate how materials can be reinterpreted and exploited as means for original visions, values, and design possibilities. To achieve the goal, the curator’s idea is to connect design-oriented companies focused on specific materials and processes with high profile designers, architects and artistes who are called to make site specific projects. The curator, together with Shenzhen Furniture Association carefully selected and linked the parts, leaving full freedom for experimentation and proposals. The aim is to load the material with messages and visions, following an approach much closer to research than to market trends. For this reason, no brief nor requirements were assigned, so that each designer was able to uncover the most unusual and unexplored material qualities.

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Material_S, Design Dome, Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center, 2022/07-25-28
All images courtesy of Material_S

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Material_S, Design Dome, Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center, 2022/07-25-28

The design of the exhibit space itself reflects the expressive, aesthetic, and functional potential of different materials and it is created in collaboration with some of the Companies involved in the exhibited projects. It shows the ability of materials to serve several scales and purposes of design, from architecture, product, interior design to art. It is conceived as a combination of several distinct spots and stands, like a village, each of them representative of a specific material.  

Aldo Cibic designs HO MENS, which is a tribute to waste and abandoned materials, working on the so called “new old”. He creates a refined, high quality furniture series by processing and reusing wood waste material from the building industry from Suzhou area.

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Aldo Cibic, HO MENS, cabinet collection, reused wood waste, Material_S, Design Dome, 2022

The award-winning interior designer Ben Wu presents an art installation, Journey to the Mountains, where he decides to use paper as a medium for a three-dimensional representation of a very traditional Chinese concept in art, mountains and rivers. The materiality of this artwork challenges illusions and spatial boundaries.

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Ben Wu, Journey to the Mountains, paper and ink, Material_S, Design Dome, 2022

J&A, architecture studio based in Shenzhen, proposes a technological installation where virtual and physical merge. There are big screens that capture the body movements of people passing by and project them as if they were embedded in the material of the screen itself.

J&A, Air - Future Context, Furniture and People, Material_S, Design Dome, 2022

The designer Tyan Shi collaborates with two brands, Sunbrella and Livintwist, to design My Wonderland, a new concept of sofa based on the deconstruction and reconstruction of the archetypical piece of furniture. She wants to express the coexistence of order and disorder in our daily life and this intention is made possible using materials with different properties and identities, combining soft and sturdy textures, frantic and relaxing forms.

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Tyan Shi, with Sunbrella and Livintwist, My Wonderland, sofa, indoor and outdoor fabrics, Material_S, Design Dome, 2022

The international renown designer Giulio Iacchetti works with the French company Procédés Chénel expert in high end paper to design Pagoda, a furniture/container based on the concept of nomadism. The inspiration comes from the material’s properties, which is extremely light and pliable while processed to be tear-resistant and waterproof. The materiality of this piece of design is extremely interesting, in its visual and tactile aesthetics, being paper with a leather feeling, along with the degree of innovation and quality of its manufacturing, since it is reinforced with vegetable fibers.

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Giulio Iacchetti, with Procédés Chénel, Pagoda, furniture/container, paper, vegetale fibers, Material_S, Design Dome, 2022

The curator has produced some pieces, as industrial designer, in collaboration with Deco Deco, an acrylic resin Company from Guangzhou. One is Gommolo, together with Javi Gasco, an unusual sit made of a likewise unusual combination of materials: tires, paper, and resin. The other one, together with Alessandro Guerriero, is a table made of acrylic resin surfaces, through an experimental dialogue with Deco Deco, to emphasize the material’s quality through the design choices of sizes, texture, thickness, and color shades. The panels create a monolithic but visually light furniture, which is no longer defined by its geometry, but rather by its material.

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Tommaso Masera and Javi Gasco, with Deco Deco, Gommolo, sit, tires, paper, and resin. Material_S, Design Dome, 2022

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Tommaso Masera and Alessandro Guerriero, with Deco Deco, table, acrylic resin. Material_S, Design Dome, 2022

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Tommaso Masera and Alessandro Guerriero, with Deco Deco, table, acrylic resin. Material_S, Design Dome, 2022

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Tommaso Masera and Alessandro Guerriero, with Deco Deco, table, acrylic resin, detail, Material_S, Design Dome, 2022

Ye Fan, designer and artist focused on innovative use of new materials and techniques, proposes Twelve Meteorites as an art installation which evokes the cosmic imagination of future settings of materials in the hyperspace. He shapes commercial Polyurethane foam, in bulky waste, to grant it with a new identity and value. He makes sculptures using a CNC machine in partnership with Nanshuiyi Culture and Art and repurpose the waste of the process as parts of the installation, arranged in specially designed display cabinet.

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Ye Fan, with Nanshuiyi Culture and Art, Twelve Meteorites, polyurethane foam, Material_S, Design Dome, 2022

The artist Ryan LaBar, founder of Lab Arts, a personal studio and innovation center in Jingdezhen, the most renowned Chinese district for ceramics, has designed a unique piece of furniture in collaboration with the company Young Lion. The project plays with the ceramic properties to get a desired effect of translucency after a long process of experiments and manufacturing. It is made of movable LED-lit porcelain pieces on an infinite mirror and a ceramic lamp, both integrated on a table.

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Ryan LaBar, with Young Lion, LED-lit porcelain pieces, mirror, ceramic, Material_S, Design Dome, 2022

The designer Liang Chen collaborates with ARTMEN, specialized in metal manufacturing, and uses the famous DuPont™ Tyvek®, a unique nonwoven material which combines the performance of paper, film, and fabric, to create Paper Armor, a collection of furniture. This project draws on the illusion of the material which looks soft but is very tough and combines semi-industrial and semi-hand-crafted processes blurring the boundaries between design and art.  

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Liang Chen, with ARTMEN, Paper Armor, Tyvek®, metal, Material_S, Design Dome, 2022

Another project proposing a new form of craftsmanship is Familiar Faces, which combines design, art, and technology. 22 authors around the world have designed 22 objects made in 3d printing and finished in Italy through handmade artistic intervention.

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Various designers, Familiar Faces, Material_S, Design Dome, 2022

In a time and place, Shenzhen 2022, of high technology supremacy and industrial reform towards breakthrough innovation, this exhibit is an illuminated tribute to materials, as protagonists of the future, and as endless resources of design possibilities, when approached with explorative and openminded lenses and treated with respect, care, and curiosity.