Materials Experience

fundamentals of materials and design

Edited by

  • Elvin Karana, Ph.D., Department of Design Engineering,Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
  • Owain Pedgley, Ph.D., Department of Industrial Design, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey
  • Valentina Rognoli, Ph.D., Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering, School of Design, Politecnico di Milano, Italy

There currently exists an abundance of materials selection advice for designers suited to solving technical product requirements. In contrast, a stark gap can be found in current literature that articulates the very real personal, social, cultural and economic connections between materials and the design of the material world. In Materials Experience: fundamentals of materials and design, thirty-four of the leading academicians and experts, alongside 8 professional designers, have come together for the first time to offer their expertise and insights on a number of topics common to materials and product design. The result is a very readable and varied panorama on the world of materials and product design as it currently stands.
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Design educators, students, design researchers, professional designers


Book information

  • Published: November 2013
  • ISBN: 978-0-08-099359-1


" excellent introduction to a composition that reflects the fundamentals for turning a design idea into a materialized outcome...I recommend this book to those interested in materials design, from those entering the field to professional researchers."--MRS Bulletin, February 2015

"Product designers offer advice to colleagues on selecting materials, considering not only the complex ways in which materials influence how products are embodied and function, but also how the materials affect people's experiences of the products and the complexity of decision making about materials that designers face.", April 2014

"When the design focus shifts from 'products' to 'interactions', materials must be considered (also) as 'experience'. This book is a very useful contribution to attend to the experiential side of materials." - Ezio Manzini

Table of Contents

Foreword (Mike Ashby)

Ch.1 Introduction to Materials Experience (Karana, Pedgley, Rognoli)


Ch 2 - The "material" side of design for sustainability - Carlo Vezzoli

Ch 3 - Sustainable multipurpose materials for design - Sascha Peters

Ch 4 - Materials and social sustainability - Prabhu Kandachar

Ch 5 - A sustainable materials library to inspire alternative product ideas - Jakki Dehn

Ch 6 - The generation of new products through upcycling - David Bramston, Anne Chick

Ch 7 - Sustainability and aesthetic in materials for design - Valentina Rognoli, Elvin Karana

Ch 8 - Theory of design for sustainability and materials - Tracy Bhamra

Designer Interview - Hella Jongerius

Designer meeting - Can Yalman


Ch 9 - The next generation of materials and design - Rob Thompson, Elaine Ng Yan Ling

Ch 10 - Materials that can resonate with the external world - Raymond Oliver

Ch 11 - Biomimetic Materials - Julian Vincent

Ch 12 - Lightweight materials, lightweight design? - Erik Tempelman

Ch 13 - Nanomaterials in design - Daniel Schodek

Ch 14 - Novel structured PZT-polymer composites for sensing and energy harvesting applications - Sybrand van der Zwaag

Designer Interview - Alberto Meda

Designer Interview - (Other UK Designer)


Ch 15 - Designing materials experience - Paul Hekkert, Elvin Karana

Ch 16 - Sensing materials: exploring the building blocks for experiential design - Rick Schifferstein, Lisa Wastiels

Ch 17 - Manipulating the material code - Blaine Brownell

Ch 18 - Every material has a story - Aart van Bezooyen

Ch 19 - The sensoaesthetics of materials: experiments in material-user interaction with regard to the sound and taste of materials - Zoe Laughlin, Phil Howes

Ch 20 - Meaningful stuff: toward longer lasting products - Jonathan Chapman

Designer Interview - Paolo Ulian

Designer Interview - Piet Hein Eek


Ch 21 - Modelling materials technology and the designer’s perceptual span - Eddie Norman

Ch 22 - The interaction between functional and human-centred attributes when selecting materials for product design - Kevin Edwards

Ch 23 - The immaterial of materials - Jonathon Allen

Ch 24 - From stiffness of iron-carbon diagram to weakness of sensoriality: the manifold designerly ways of developing engineering competencies in materials - Marinella Levi, Luigi De Nardo

Ch 25 - Materials selection towards tactile aesthetic appreciation - Hengfeng Zuo, Tony Hope

Ch 26 - Materials selection for product experience: new thinking, new tools - Owain Pedgley

Ch 27 - The concept-context approach to learning material properties in design (-related) education - Marc de Vries

Designer Interview - Dick Powell

Designer Interview - Ece Yalım

Ch 28 - Inspirational resources for materials

Ch 29 - Conclusion