Politecnico di Milano (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 1790-1797
ISBN: 978-84-612-7578-6
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain
The knowledge of materials characteristics allows the designer not only to make the best material selection as a function of its application in a given product, but also to overcome its limits and constraints in a design path where materials and transformation technologies become variables of the creation process.
The materials rational and oriented use is necessary to bring out and enrich the perceptive and sensorial experience undergone by the consumer.
The innovative values of an object can be underlined by the chosen material; in fact its mechanical and chemico-physical properties, as well as its forming, joining and finishing technologies, all participate to the success of a product.
The history of design, of products and their shapes, is based on the constant dialectic relationship between a project and new materials and technologies.
The central role materials had in the past is attested by the traditional identification of the evolutionary eras with the material accompanying man’s presence: the Stone Age, the Copper Age, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age. Though only the most recent developments in chemistry allowed the beginning of a new era based on materials designed by man, during the industrial revolution (XVII-XIX centuries) new instruments and equipments became available, thus increasing the number, efficiency and variety of man’s actions on materials.
Nowadays the knowledge of materials properties is essential more than ever, as for both technical and engineering properties, and expressive-sensorial perceptions, in order to produce an aware design and exploit in the most appropriate way potentials and limits of the chosen material.
What must be constantly kept in mind is that such a fast materials evolution has never been observed before, as well as such a wide range of properties.
The modern designer duty is not limited to the selection of the correct material, which best satisfies the design requirements, as product realization is generally not included in design characteristics. A correct design, in fact, must also consider the production process, that is, processes needed to confer a shape to the material, to connect different pieces and to grant the desired surface finishing.
During the last decades, and specially in recent years, the amount of materials available to design and production is constantly increasing at a dizzy rate; similarly, also differentiating characteristics are widening.
Though the implicit difficulty of constantly being up-to-date the designer must meet with is evident, we must stress out that the consequent lack of knowledge unavoidably turns into a loss of opportunities; today, a deeply innovative design is favoured by a smart and imaginative exploring of new materials, even designed on purpose whenever necessary. Since there’s no reason for expect a decrease in new materials development, it is reasonable to expect that in next years materials selection will become even more articulate and complex, specially as for new working technologies.
Aim of the paper is to demonstrate through a historical excursus the deep connection between design, materials and technologies, and to underline the importance of knowledge for an aware and innovative design.
innovation, technology, materials.