Designers work with what they can see. Now that nanotechnology makes even the smallest things visible, unexpected developments are on the horizon. Can the nanoscopic perspective lead to fruitful partnerships between science, industry and the design sector and might this lead to new notions of design? An evening with Ed van Hinte (designer and critic) Professor Guus Rijnders (University of Twente), Toon Stilma (designer), Saco Roelevink (BioNanon) and Sophie Krier (moderator for the evening).
Nano is nothing new, it is simply now visible. Scientists are building a nano-rabbit from a string of DNA – simply because they can. The question is not so much whether this is useful; it is simply a matter of developing knowledge. Companies use this knowledge to introduce new materials, commodities and biological processes. For them nano is so obvious they sometimes forget to think beyond their success. Designers undertake research and apply their findings but they lack knowledge of the nano scale. The marriage of these two worlds offers opportunities for new developments.
Ed van Hinte
Ed van Hinte is a design critic, teacher and industrial designer. His books include Eternally Yours about increased product endurance, First Read This about communication in complex design projects, and several monographs. He is also the co-author of the recently published book Products That Last. He is co-founder of Lightness Studios, which promotes the development of lightweight structures in the construction industry, and of DRS22, a design research lab. In 2014 he was the recipient of the Pierre Bayle Prize, a biannual lifetime achievement award art criticism.
Professor Guus Rijnders is head of the Inorganic Materials Science Group at MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology at the University of Twente. He undertakes research into complex (nano)materials that have applications in, among other things, electronic devices. The relationship between structure and specific characteristics is central to this.
Toon Stilma is co-founder together with Stijn Roodnat of Label/Breed, an office that brings together designers and specialised manufacturers. They arranged, for example, for designer Marleen Kaptein to work at the Nederlands Aerospace Centre where she developed a chair printed from carbon. Stilma studied aeronautics and aerodynamics at Delft University of Technology and began his career at Stork Fokker. He later worked at Roland Berger, a strategy consultancy that stimulates public-private partnerships in the fields of medicine and the biobased economy.
Saco Roelevink iis the founder of BioNanoN, a company that specialises in coatings and cleaning products derived from nanotechnologies. The products, which contain nano silicon particles, clean, protect and coat all sorts of objects at a molecular level so that they can stand long-term exposure to conditions that would otherwise lead to corrosion, oxidisation or erosion.
Sophie Krier studied textile design at the Design Academy Eindhoven. She combines her design practice with research and teaching. She has organised and moderated symposiums on craft and industry, the future of education, and the ethics of materials and urban ecology. In 2008 she initiated Field Essays, a research project into the tactile relationship between making and thinking. She is currently developing a new art and design course for University College Roosevelt in Middelburg.