From Tuesday 5 to Thursday 7 April, the leading material innovation event for R&D and design professionals took place: MaterialDistrict Utrecht 2022. With a comprehensive programme with 50 lectures from material experts and designers, 135 exhibitors, and a curated material exhibition of over 250 innovative materials, this edition was once again a great success for organiser MaterialDistrict.
For the first time in three years, due to Covid-19, the event took place at its new location, Werkspoorkathedraal Utrecht, with even more innovations than before. Over 4,500 R&D and design professionals from all sectors of spatial design (interior, architecture, garden & landscape, leisure, furniture & interior construction and exhibition, stage & decor) were immersed in everything new in their sector. On top of this, 50 material experts, architects, and designers expanded on the visitors’ vision of the future of materials during the lectures.
Sustainable event at new location
The event was held for the first time at Werkspoorkathedraal in Utrecht, the Netherlands. MaterialDistrict received a lot of positive feedback about this beautiful location, a former factory hall for railway equipment with an industrial look. While MaterialDistrict has always strived to be sustainable, the new location allowed for even more steps in the right direction; with natural lighting coming in through the glass roof, reducing the use of artificial light to a minimum, and an industrial concrete floor that didn’t necessitate single use carpet.
In few locations that did call for carpet, like the theatres and the exhibitors’ stands, MaterialDistrict opted for rented carpet tiles that are re-used at other events. To make the event even more sustainable, all the event signing and pedestals for the materials exhibition were made of cardboard. No plastic bottles and cups were uses serving drinks to the public, and all visitors received a free reusable filled water bottle to prevent plastic waste. All in all, the event was nearly zero-waste.
Loads of positive responses
Visitors as well as exhibitors were enthusiastic about the material innovation event. Especially the extensive selection of innovative and sustainable materials that visitors could experience with all senses were praised. Additionally, the extensive lecture programme, the beautiful new location, and quality and diversity of the visitors are reasons for both visitors and exhibitors to return next year.
In its own curated exhibition of materials, MaterialDistrict presented the most important trends in material development: circularity, energy transition, and well-being. No less than 250 materials were exhibited, which all fitted in one or more of the three themes. Young talent was also invited to present their new materials, which often included a new vision on old materials and waste, reused in a new manner.
At the lectures, held at two inflatable theatres with two simultaneous programmes, over 50 speakers from the fields of architecture, (material) design and more shared their knowledge with the audience in themes like Tomorrow’s Timber, Future Materials, and Circular Design. Many of their innovations could also be admired at stands on the trade show floor. The lecture programme was moderated by MaterialDistrict Utrecht ambassadors Leonne Cuppen (Yksi Expo), David Heldt (Connecting the Dots), and Daan Bruggink (ORGA architect).
On Wednesday afternoon, Dutch interior design and architectural associations bni and BNA hosted the session ‘Circular design, hoe dan?’ with five presentations and concluded with an open conversation with the audience.
The lecture programme was livestreamed for the first time and viewed by people from all over the world. By popular demand, the lectures will be made available to watch at a later time.
Next year: More MaterialDistrict Utrecht, more material innovation
MaterialDistrict Utrecht 2022 was a great success, as the positive responses of both exhibitors and visitors show. Next year, MaterialDistrict Utrecht will continue to matchmake between material manufacturers and R&D and design professionals. Next year’s dates will be announced within the coming weeks.