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Composite exhibition: Fibre-Fixed. Composites in Design

The exhibition will showcase what can be achieved when fibres are combined with a plastic, by demonstrating how composites can bring out the best in both materials.


Curators Ignaas Verpoest (KU Leuven) and Lut Pil (LUCA School of Arts) focus on designs from the past five years and present the breakthroughs that can be expected in the years to come.
Fibre-Fixed. Composites in Design is a collaboration with the Dutch design collective Envisions.

Fibres and composite materials
Carbon, glass or other synthetic fibres can be used for this purpose, or natural fibres such as flax, hemp, jute and silk. The strength and rigidity of the fibres, in combination with the lightness of the plastics, inspires designers to create lightweight, energy-efficient products. At the same time, composite materials allow for a tremendous freedom of shape. Designers are also experimenting with fibres that are not as commonplace, such as pine needles, banana fibres and rice hull fibres, or even mycelium.

Present-day social challenges
Curators Ignaas Verpoest (KU Leuven) and Lut Pil (LUCA School of Arts) show how composites can impact present-day social challenges such as climate change, sustainability, mobility, the ageing population and digitalization. The properties of composite materials form the basis of household objects that provide new perspectives: in this way, designing with composites satisfies a diversity of needs, responds to a wide range of expectations and helps shape the future. 

The exhibition focuses on designs from the past five years and presents the breakthroughs that can be expected in the years to come. The projects have been selected from a wide range of sectors, such as mobility, sports, medical applications, energy provision, infrastructure, architecture and everyday household objects.

Fibre-Fixed. Composites in Design is a joint production by curators Ignaas Verpoest and Lut Pil in collaboration with the Dutch design collective Envisions. The scenography, by Tomas Dirrix of Envisions, exhibits most of the projects in a conventional form: recognizable objects in an urban landscape. Visitors to the exhibition view their surroundings – a world filled with objects made from composite materials – from a central observation post. Following this panoramic introduction, they can take a closer look at the objects. The set-up allows trains of thought to travel in a variety of directions and stimulates visitors to discover links and interactions between disciplines that, at first glance, appear to have little in common.

A laboratory context has been created on the ground floor, underneath the landscape, where further information is provided about the materials, processes and concepts of the projects on display by integrating research aspects in a setting that resembles a lab.

In this way, Fibre-Fixed. Composites in Design aims to offer new insights and trigger creative reflection. Some processes are also presented with a poetic twist, such the growth of mycelium in the film One Day/Four Seconds (2016) by Wim van Egmond (NL), or the recycling and processing of textiles into textile composite material in the publication and animation A Single Sample. Really (2017) by Christien Meindertsma (NL). This information is supplemented by workshops and lectures that offer a further opportunity to experience the material in concrete terms.

The exhibition will take place from 26 October 2018 to 21 April 2019 in Gent, Belgium.

Companies: Composite Materials Group, Design Museum Gent

Terms: Applications, Innovations, News Worldwide

This article has been edited by Basalt.Today
This article has been written on JEC Composites Magazine
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