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MRE2020: Transforming ideas through utilising novel materials, and an insight into the problem-solving process applied.

Boons, Sofie


Sofie Boons


Material Research Exchange 2020

Materials Research Exchange (MRE20) is a two-day exhibition and conference which showcases the wealth of UK materials research and investment opportunities.

With the ultimate goal being to accelerate the process of bringing these innovations to the commercialisation stage, the event presents ground-breaking new materials and their manufacturing process. MRE is organised by Innovate UK & the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN).

The Materials and Design Exchange (MaDE) is a resource network of partners and advisors: Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), Royal College of Art (RCA), Institute for Materials Discovery University College London, Institute of Engineering Designers, Barron Gould, Creative Interfaces, and Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining (IOM3).

MaDE inspires and facilitates the interaction of materials, design and making communities towards material development and application. Our activity challenges material scientists to consider applications and provides designers and makers with material and production options, thus turning ideas and technologies into products the market wants.

The MaDE partners have been offered space in the exhibition and time in the conference to:
• Raise awareness within the materials community of design, making and craft involved in material development and application
• Inspire makers to consider advanced materials in their work

Abstract for Presentation
Contemporary jewellers are considered artists of the miniature sentiment and crafters of the wearable statement. Outside the realm of status and commodity, jewellery can be used to visualise the intangible and conceptual, creating objects and adornments that ask wearers to think, audiences to ask and all to discuss.

Through an insight into my practice as Alchemical Jeweller the presentation will highlight acquired knowledge and experience applying novel materials to the design of jewellery. A quest to find solutions for the representation of the ephemeral and intangible through problem solving issues arising from the use of materials outside of their expected use is presented through a detailed description of three pieces of work produced in response to the inquiry into the way we wear perfumes, and one further collection of pieces that is only at the start of exploring the opportunities that exist with materials that have been explored and developed through science.

By utilising materials, and where appropriate adapting them for a novel application, innovative pieces of work can be produced. Working with these new materials poses challenges, their identification in particular poses issues, leaving their discovery often down to chance encounters and/or referrals. Once these materials are however discovered, their usage by a craftsman will be investigated and explored through methods and experiments others in other fields would not apply. These results can provide new insights and further opportunities that extend beyond the application identified by the craftsman. With advances in a range of materials there is a clear opportunity for designers to continue using materials as inspiration and an ultimate unmissable tool of visualisation and creation.


Boons, S. (2020, February). MRE2020: Transforming ideas through utilising novel materials, and an insight into the problem-solving process applied. Presented at Materials Research Exchange 2020, Business Design Centre, London

Presentation Conference Type Lecture
Conference Name Materials Research Exchange 2020
Start Date Feb 19, 2020
End Date Feb 20, 2020
Deposit Date Apr 20, 2020
Public URL
Publisher URL