12 - 14 Nov 2024

Future materials take inspiration from nature

Future materials take inspiration from nature
Fish scales, orange peel, banana plants. The materials of the future can be found in the most unexpected places in nature. You will find these globally unique materials – along with many innovative designs – at Subcontractor InnoDex.

Oranges from southern Italy may well be juicy and delicious, but they’re not widely known as materials for design lamps. Yet that’s exactly what they are. Italian company Krill Design has developed Ohmie – the world’s first 3D-printed lamp made from orange peel. It can be seen at Subcontractor InnoDex.

Ohmie is a clear example of how waste from the food industry can be reused as a circular material rather than being discarded.

  “Nature has all kinds of phenomena that we’re only just starting to understand, and now that we understand them we can also see how they can be used to replace existing materials. This is somewhere between technology and biology, and it’s the field that has by far the greatest potential over the next hundred years,” says Dr. Sascha Peters, founder of Berlin-based Haute Innovation and an innovation expert at Subcontractor InnoDex.

Sustainability is one of the four themes of Subcontractor InnoDex, and great emphasis is being placed on circular materials. For example, how about a cog for Swiss watches made from thin yet strong wood, tile-like plates made from fish scales, or a truly strong fabric made from the fibres of banana-plant leaves?

“The banana plants are grown in the Philippines, where they dry the leaf fibres to make a kind of paper. The paper is twisted into a yarn, which is then woven to make a fabric that has a natural wax layer. The fabric is incredibly strong, and has attracted interest from the automotive industry as a material for interiors,” says Dr. Peters.

Subcontractor InnoDex is the natural forum for industry’s product developers, and anyone else with an interest in innovative materials and amazing designs. Other themes at the arena are digital and smart materials, materials for Additive Manufacturing (AM), as well as resource efficiency and lightweight materials.

  “At Subcontractor InnoDex you can find all kinds of interesting circular materials, but also a lot of materials for 3D printing and high-tech materials with unique properties.

The exhibition covers a wide range of areas, all with a clear link to industry.”