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22 Feb 2018

Surface Special: the latest trends shaping the industry

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This year, for our annual surface special, we turn to the three key sustainable trends shaping the industry 

3D Printing: Aectual

surface 2Aectual's XL 3D printing robot creates a bespoke lattice pattern

3D printing is thrashing at the structures of traditional construction methods, with technological innovation that offers forward-thinking designers new possibilities in sustainable practice – particularly in the realms of surfaces. Founded on a mission to bring freedom in design and customised architecture to the masses, Aectual is a 3D printing company in the Netherlands that is delivering digitally produced building products for cleaner, faster and better cities. The company's work spans across large-scale bespoke flooring projects for public buildings, retail and hospitality sectors, lobbies and airports. 

Recycling: Pentatonic

surface 3The Plyfix seat of the Airtool chair is made of recycled plastic

"We're here to do something different", is Pentatonic’s manifesto. The Berlin and London-based company is dedicated to inventing new materials using human trash – the world’s most abundant and polluting resource – with products ranging from iridescent glassware made from old smartphone screens, to practical homewares and furniture made from food, electrical, plastic and textile waste. Modular flat-pack furniture fit for the office is a prominent addition: in its Airtool range of chairs and tables each element – whether it’s a leg, tabletop or chair seat – can be taken apart and exchanged for another. 

Upcycling: Marjan van Aubel

surface 4Cyanometer's solar crystals power a light installation of opal rings

Marjan van Aubel is an award-winning solar designer whose work flits between science, chemistry and innovative material technology. By utilising expandable materials and integrating solar cells into her surfaces, she gives a double use to the function and meaning of objects. From a table infused with solar panel technologies, a window that replicates stained glass but is in fact planted with coloured solar cells, to a recent collaboration with Swarovski that uses crystals to enhance solar cell technology – van Aubel's work has graced our environment for the better. 

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