Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Material ConneXion: Yes, that’s ConneXion with an ‘X’…

This week we extol the merits of Material ConneXion, the online materials database staff and students can access through GSA Library

Materials libraries are on the rise. From the Institute of Making at University College London to the SCIN Studio Library to Material Considerations, A+DS’ library of sustainable materials at The Lighthouse in Glasgow, the zeitgeist is for material curation. The global consultancy firm Material ConneXion, were early innovators when, in the mid-00’s, they created a plush New York library space for high-profile clients such as BMW and Proctor & Gamble to browse their suite of advanced and innovative materials. The emphasis is on sustainability and finding renewable materials as comparable alternatives to more traditional, synthetic options. Several more satellite libraries followed before the organisation’s strap-line “every idea has a material solution” was actualised in the form of the Material ConneXion database that invited online subscriptions for access to a resource of thousands of browse-able materials. GSA Library swiftly signed up and the resource is now a regular favourite among architects, product designers and interior designers as well as rousing the interest of sculptors and jewellery-makers.

The database’s broad application is reflected in the sheer number and breadth of materials available to browse. Between 40 and 50 new materials are added each month after careful selection by an expert team of designers and material scientists. Materials are organised into categories based on composition and imitate those found in the physical library space, for example, Polymers, Ceramics, Glass, Metals, Cement-based materials and Natural Materials. Use the Advanced Search option to look for a material with specific characteristics. The results lead onto a product page for each material that provides the material name, manufacturer, the category the material falls under, and all of its properties in addition to images. Manufacturers' contact details may be used to request additional product details or samples though costs are undisclosed. Create a personal account using the new ‘Personal Accounts’ button found on the top right-hand-side of the page after logging in to Material ConneXion through the catalogue to ‘tag’ favourite materials and to keep track of your research.  

This YouTube video explains Using the Material ConneXion database in more depth

Enjoy exploring one of our favourite database subscriptions!