One of my personal highlights at METSTRADE has been the InnovationLAB Materia XPerience, a truly inspirational collection of sustainable and innovative materials made from wood, fibre, metal, ceramics, and other natural matter. I spent rather more time then I would care to admit looking at and touching these products, to energise my tactile senses.
The exhibition is masterminded by Ir. Els Zijlstra, the Creative Director of Materia. This Amsterdam-based global network of businesses works in the field of innovative materials and offer more than 2,600 different products between them. It is clear that many of these materials could have exciting applications on boats – for inspiration browse them by category on the Materia website here.
I was listening to radio reports from the UK’s flagship Chelsea Flower Show yesterday, and the presenter described a display where moisture-loving orchids are being used as a shower curtain within a wet room. That sounded amazing as a concept, albeit I wondered quite how much they would like some of the potions we fling around while showering in the pursuit of hygiene and (myself excluded) – beauty.
It reminded me of a German participant at the last Materia XPerience who was suggesting the use of moss to cover boat interiors. Moss does not need watering, fertilising or pruning. It can be supplied in many colours, not just in green, and is said to be easy to install. Moss also produces oxygen, so I guess that could lead to a better night’s sleep too, or a less severe hangover post-cockpit party!
Who is brave enough to install moss in the saloon, or pliable plastic fittings made from the shells of an invasive species, or foam-like panels made from recycled aluminium? Can the marine industry make a real virtue of its environmental credentials by adopting materials in this way – even perhaps for a concept boat to warm consumers up to new ideas? Can we be this in a traditionally conservative marketplace?
Do let me know what you think. Also, please post any Materia products that catch your eye here – I have not managed to look at all 2,600 yet and would be pleased to share the task!