Nottingham hosts Materials Compendium

Nottingham Trent University is hosting a new initiative to highlight and stimulate innovation in the East Midlands.

Fabric made from stinging nettles, light-transmitting concrete and insulation used in space by Nasa are just some of the materials to go on show at as part of a £1.9m initiative.

The university’s working with you… team – part-funded by a £759,000 grant from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) – will host the Materials Compendium, an exhibition of more than 125 materials curated by Materials Council.

The exhibition will be open weekdays, between 9 -19 February from 9am-5pm, at the university’s Newton building on the city campus. Admission is free and there is no need to book in advance.

It’s the first time the exhibition has gone on show outside London and it aims to enable designers, manufacturers and architects to discover new materials and connect with specialist manufacturers across the country.

Dr Jeremy Hague, head of business development at Nottingham Trent University, said: “It’s a real privilege for Nottingham to be the first city outside the capital to host this exhibition and we’re certain it will provide businesses with a creative spark to help them innovate new products or improve existing ones.

“Not only will it introduce people such as designers and craftsmen to new materials, but it will show them more established ones, such as woods and aluminium, in a different light and help them think more laterally about ways in which they can be used.”

As well as smart materials, other materials on display will include a variety of metals, woods, laminates, plastics, stones, ceramics, concretes, glasses, composites and fibre.

Physical samples of each material will be available to handle and each will be accompanied with a label to provide a brief description of it and an outline of its key applications and characteristics.

To coincide with the exhibition, a lecture and workshop on biomimicry – how technology can mimic nature – with French organisation MatériO will take place on 13 February at the Newton building, (bookings must be made in advance).

Brad Turner, director of Materials Council, adds: “Materials Council is very excited to be able to bring one of our curated exhibitions outside London for the first time.

“We have previously curated a selection of materials for the permanent collection of London’s Design Museum, but it’s great to bring Materials Compendium to Nottingham Trent University.

“The breadth of materials and building products available is staggering; and the number continues to grow by the day. The Materials Compendium is a demonstration and celebration of this breadth and illustrates the scope of material solutions available, either to satisfy design problems or act as the inspiration for remarkable design solutions.”