The materials of the future in focus: space concrete and planet positive textiles at the Future Materials conference

Date: 2023.07.22
What materials will be used 15 years from now in architecture, healthcare, textile, and gastronomy? How to make fabrics for dresses, upholstery for couches or materials for plates more sustainable? What innovations can shape the feel, appearance, and, most importantly, the environmentally conscious afterlife of our items of everyday use? The second Future Materials conference of the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design on 28 and 29 September 2023 will offer globally relevant responses to these questions.

With materials being an integral part of our everyday lives, material research could provide relevant solutions to our sustainability issues. The conference will present material innovations in the four topic areas of architecture, healthcare, textile, and food. Presentations on the first day will cover the current and future progress of material innovations in these fields, delivered by internationally acclaimed material research and development experts.  

Key speakers will include Julian Ellis-Brown, co-founder and CEO of SaltyCo, a materials science company that harnesses regenerative agriculture to make planet-positive textiles.  Saltyco has emerged few years ago from a university research project at the Royal College of Art, and is based on the use of salt-tolerant plants to prevent further overconsumption of freshwater in the already heavily freshwater intensive textile industry. Their product BioPuff® is a plant-based fibre fill material designed to keep the wearer warm without harming the environment. This planet-positive alternative to animal and petroleum-based products, is created by growing plants using regenerative wetland agriculture.  

We will also be joined by founder of the DeakinBio sustainable ceramic tile company and Research Fellow at the University of Manchester Aled Roberts, who develops alternatives to high-value but less environmentally friendly conventional materials. Roberts was also involved in the development of a conceptional construction material to be used in space and made from lunar and Martian regolith. The first prototypes were created using salt, potato starch, and simulated Martian dust currently formed from volcanic rock. The plan is to use StarCrete – as the material was dubbed – to construct the habitats of colonies with several meters of wall thickness on the Moon and the Mars. 

The presentation of head of the textile research department at the Newcastle University Jane Scott will cover the latest innovations in the textile industry, while lecturer and PhD student at the Elisava Barcelona School of Design and Engineering in Barcelona Silvia Escursell will talk about her research line involving design and application of lignocellulose circular materials in the packaging sector related to e-commerce.  
Presentation by artist, curator, and co-founder of The Center for Genomic Gastronomy and CoClimate Catherine Kramer is also promising to be an intriguing one.  The former is engaged in exploring biotechnologies of human food systems with the help of art.  

Valentina Rognoli and Sofia Soledad Duarte Poblete are coming from the Politecnico di Milano to hold a workshop at the conference. Rognoli’s research and teaching activities are focusing on pioneering and challenging topics such as materials for the ecological transition, DIY materials for social innovation and sustainability, bio-based and biofabricated materials, and materials from waste and food waste. Product designer, PhD student, and teaching assistant Poblete is doing research focused on designing guidelines and green practices for companies and designers by considering responsible materials design and scaling up.  

Launched in 2022 by the MOME Innovation Center, a leading design research and development hub in Central Eastern Europe, Future Materials is the first international conference in the region to comprehensively explore material research and development. In addition to designers, material researchers, and business professionals, everyone with an interest in developments and applications of next generation materials is welcome. The event offers a great opportunity for presenting and sharing innovations, as well as for forming interdisciplinary collaborations. 

The talks will be followed by practical workshops on day 2. An exhibition featuring material innovations by young talents will be on display throughout the entire duration of the conference. 

The Future Materials Conference will take place on 28 and 29 September at the MOME Campus in Zugliget. The event will be entirely in English. Participation is free of charge, but requires prior registration. 

Detailed event schedule, registration, and further information: 

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