Articulating material criteria

Karen Marie Hasling


This paper discusses the experiences and potentials with materials teaching at the Institute for Product Design at Kolding School of Design, using materials teaching as experiments in my PhD project. The project intents to create a stronger material awareness among product design students with emphasis on sustainability. The experiments aim to develop an understanding of, how product design students include materials in their design practice and how tools can be developed that further enhance this. Hence experiments are essential for the progress of the PhD project as they help to observe, imitate and articulate the students’ inclusion of materials. This paper particularly discusses the experiences made and ideas generated after the execution of a material science course for second year students, with emphasis on the concept of the material selection matrix as an educational tool for material exploration. The course was the first course I was involved in as a PhD student and has served as the first observation case in my project. The purpose of this analysis has been to explore and demonstrate that data from material selection matrices generated during the course, help mature the tool. Furthermore the purpose is to initiate a discussion on, how to create educational tools for material awareness creation in the design education e.g. by applying objective and quantitative methods in an otherwise often subjective design process.

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