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Materials and the Unknown

The 23rd International Exhibition hosted at Triennale opened in July 2022 with the title Unknown Unknowns. An Introduction to Mysteries. It was conceived as a place of comparisons and debates in the field of design and society, where different cultures, experiences and perspectives can converge. 

Visitors are guided through the paradox of what we don’t know we don’t know in different aspects of life - from cities to oceans, from genetics to astrophysics - by exploring what has been done and already accomplished by designers, architects, artists and musicians. What is still perceived as unknown will eventually define the future of arts and creativity together with the developments in technology and society.

As we focus on materials, processes and their integration in design and products, this contraposition becomes clear starting from the exhibition La tradizione del nuovo, curated by Marco Sammicheli, where works, installations, and experimental pieces are showcased to manifest the clear dedication of Italian Design to a courageous approach in exploration with new materials introduced by technological development in the years between 1964 and 1996.

 
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Gaetano Pesce, Nobody’s perfect, 1993, Experimenting with properties and mouldability of synthetic resins
 
 

The Alchemic Laboratory on the other hand anticipates material areas of research and exploration for contemporary designers, who want to challenge themselves with the properties of new bio-fabricated, self-growing and self-healing materials.

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Experiment on bacterial cellulose

 

Visitors entering the International Exhibitors section will immediately immerse in a reality where the Earth is conceived as a balanced space shared among humans, animals and the environment. This renewed romantic vision of the world, where the connection between human beings and the natural world becomes the key to the foreseeable future, is highlighted by numerous installations of artists from all over the world, willing to reveal the impact of reckless consumption of materials and resources on the planet, or, as a contrast, the unexpected hidden potential of living organisms.

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Louise Manzon, Industrial Pollution, Kenya

 

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Greenhouse Silent Disco, Poland, where digital sensors record communication happening among plants, linked to specific needs or responses to changing ambient conditions, thanks to the analysis of chlorophyll fluorescence

 

Upstairs, the nerve center of the 23rd International Exhibition is where the boundaries among fields of knowledge become permeable and hazy and the Unknown Unknowns take the stage: elements and processes inspired by gravity, seen as the greatest designer of the universe; new materials designed for the exploitation of extraterrestrial mineral resources and their future applications; finally, an overview of the mysteries linked to the fundamental laws of physics and the deep space.

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Walter Tschinkel, Aluminium casts, mystery and complexity of ants’ underground nest structures

 

Materially maintains a constant observatory on many material trends, allowing companies to always keep up with innovation in their sector of interest. Find out more


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