We facilitated a Masterclass on Material Driven Design in Taipei

Last month, the Lab co-heads  Dr Elvin Karana and Dr Valentina Rognoli facilitated a 1-week masterclass on Material Driven Design in Taipei. The masterclass introduced to 20 designers various techniques and a method to discover the potential of a material beyond ‘function’. The masterclass was host by the Taiwan Craft Center, including field trips in Hualien, Fongbin Town, and Taichung to experience the making of ‘banana fibers’ in a local workshop and a craft center, for which designers were challenged to find new expressions and application through the week.

The Lab Co-heads commented the results:

“We are truly fascinated by the results! 20 designers, 7 days of intensive work! They haven’t slept last night to prepare the exhibition. “How could we use banana trees as resource for new material concepts, beyond the traditionally known one, i.e. yarn?” This was their challenge through this masterclass. They used, from the stem to the leaves, every bit of a tree to create material concepts. While one designer used the inner texture of the stem as a mould to give texture to metal, another one used the same inner structure of the tree as a canvas to weave with bamboo fibers. One designer made a glue like material to repair broken objects; another one created a hybrid material with both soft and hard qualities from the same tree. The participants also learnt how to articulate their vision and how to build their material narrative. For us the biggest happiness is that we could see them using a total new vocabulary to describe their process and the materials; and a new lens to ‘see’ and ‘listen’ the materials around us! Thank you, Linna Yi-Shiang and her team for organizing this masterclass; and our lovely translator and personal guide Chen-Hau Hsu for all the great work.

Hope to see you soon,

Elvin and Vale”

Valentina Rognoli interviewed by Domus about Materials Experience

Materials Experience and the Expressive-Sensorial dimension of Materials have been presented by the Lab co-head Dr. Valentina Rognoli in an interview for Domus Magazine, N. 1027.

The project A Matter of Time by Stefano Parisi and other Graduation projects developed at Politecnico di Milano have been featured in the interview.

“Material is a medium. In fact, it communicates ideas, beliefs, and approaches. It forces us to think, feel, and act in certain ways. It facilitates and improves functionality and use. The concept of Materials Experience […] underlines the role of protagonist in design that nowadays is acknowledged to materials, both from a technical point of view and an experiential one”.


We exhibited at the London Design Festival 2018

A selection of Master theses developed at Politecnico di Milano, School of Design, was presented in Design < > Research, an exhibition of two new research centres at the Royal College of Art, during the London Design Festival 2018. The exhibition launched two new research centres to the public for the first time and showcased the latest innovations from the newly formed Burberry Material Futures Research Group and the Intelligent Mobility Design Centre. 

The selected projects are the results of an on-going research on DIY materials. Derived from waste resources and embracing Circularity and self-actualization, the selected materials arise as future sustainable materials and are enabling sustainable future consumer experiences. 

Projects by: Helga Aversa, Karen Estefanía Rodríguez Daza, Valeria Munda, and Salvatore Dario Panico. Tutored by Dr. Valentina Rognoli, Camilo Ayala Garcia and Stefano Parisi, at Politecnico di Milano, School of Design.

Vote for "Mine the City!" to be in SXSW 2019

Our workshop "Mine the City!" in collaboration with Border Sessions is now on public vote to be part of SXSW 2019 Festival, in Austin, Texas.

What if we can create new materials out of what seems to be waste, but are actually resources? Facilitated by the Materials Experience Lab and a collective of Japanese designers, in this workshop we explore opportunities in a circular economy through DIY materials. Introduced by Valentina Rognoli and her colleagues in 2015, DIY-Materials are created through individual or collective self-production experiences, as a result of a process of tinkering with materials. After an introduction by Camilo Ayala Garcia from Materials Experience Lab, you will go out to mine the city: find a potential resource of urban waste, which can be transferred into a potential material for product applications. This workshop is part of an emerging movement that started at Border Sessions in The Hague in 2018.

Here you can read the full proposal and cast your vote after registration:


MDD Master Class for Professionals

2-Day Master Class for Professionals, on June 20 and 21 at TUDelft, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering. 

How do we design (with) materials? How do we design for material experiences with a material as a departure point in the design process? How do we transfer a material into a meaningful product application? How do we know it is ‘the application’? How can we bring forward a unique quality of a material?

Mine the City Lab: 2-Day MATTERathon

In 2015, the average European used 16 tonnes of materials. Our demand for materials is intense. As an activist reaction to the accelerating degradation of the environment due to this high demand for material use, more and more designers act as ‘active maker’ of materials rather than ‘passive recipient’. Accordingly, anything tangible could be a resource for DIY-material makers, including materials which mobilize sources we (the society) consider as waste, such as domestic and industrial waste, and discarded sources or by-products from food or raw material production which most of the time appear invisible to us.

We invite you to join us to explore ‘Dutch ways of living’ as a resource for DIY-Materials tinkering in the ‘Mine the City Lab’ 2-Day MATTERathon at Border Sessions - Tech Culture Festival,  June 15th and 16th 2018.

Here you can find the full call:


Renewable Matter features the course Designing Materials Experiences

Renewable Matter, international magazine on the Bioeconomy and the Circular Economy, has featured the course Designing Materials Experiences in the article “Thinking with our hands” by Barbara Pollini and Francesca Maccagnan. The article describes relevant experiences of leading Italian and European universities in encouraging their students to experiment with innovative materials with a hands-on approach and to assess their environmental impact. The collection includes Designing Materials Experiences, a successful elective course led by Dr. Valentina Rognoli with the assistance of Camilo Ayala Garcia and Stefano Parisi in the Design School of Politecnico di Milano.

Here you can find the complete online article:


DIY-Materials at Design x Designers, Milan Design Week 2018

A selection of results of the course Designing Materials Experiences and related Master’s thesis developed at Politecnico di Milano are showcased in the exhibition Design x Designers 2018. In this exhibition, we present DIY-Materials as the outcomes of a practice of materials self-production using unconventional resources and techniques. These materials allow students to shape materials experiences, enable social changes and encourage material speculation about future scenarios, practices, models and aesthetics.

Visit us at the Design School of Politecnico di Milano, in Via Candiani 72, Milan (building B2), from April 10 to May 2, 2018. 

Download the press material here.

ICS Materials Seminars and Lectures at Politecnico di Milano

ICS Materials: Discovering and Defining Interactive, Connected, and Smart materials is a cycle of open seminars and lectures we have organized in the scope of the project ICS Materials at Politecnico di Milano, Department of Design, and concluded in the last weeks of 2017.

By involving experts from education and practice in the fields of Design, New Materials and Interaction, we aimed to encourage the discussion and share experiences and insights on Interactive, Connected and Smart Materials. We devoted each of the dates to a specific theme, with the aim of framing the State of the Art through methodologies, case studies, and previous researches, and on exploring future scenarios for ICS Materials. A special thank to all the guest speakers who made this cycle unique.

Materials Today Features an Interview about Materials Experience Lab

Materials Today, one of the most prestigious communities dedicated to the creation and sharing of materials science knowledge and experience, supported by Elsevier, has featured the Materials Experience Lab with an interview of the coordinator Dr. Elvin Karana.

Here you can find other pictures of the complete interview:


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