The largest multisectoral materials fair in the world, Material Xperience 2018, took place from Tuesday 13 till Thursday 15 March. With more than 8,400 enthusiastic visitors, this annual event realised a visitor growth of more than 35% (over 2,200 more visitors) in comparison to the last edition in Rotterdam Ahoy, The Netherlands. Combined with a comprehensive programme with 55 lectures from material experts, 140 exhibitors, 100+ large exhibition pieces and 250+ innovative materials, this edition was a great success for organiser Materia Exhibitions.


Multisectoral material innovation

This year, Material Xperience spread her wings and showed the latest material developments and innovations in 6 segments. R&D and design professionals from the worlds of architecture, interior, fashion & workwear, product, mobility and graphic & packaging were immersed in everything that is new in their sector. On top of this, 55 material experts expanded on their vision of the future of materials within their sector during their lectures, and six specific sector pavilions presented a unique and varied selection of materials and exhibition pieces of well-known and lesser known designers.


Loads of positive responses

Visitors as well as exhibitors were very enthusiastic about the trade show. The event was described as ‘the best fair ever’, ‘amazing’, ‘unique’, ‘personal’, ‘dynamic’ and even ‘a materials party’. Especially the extensive selection of materials and the open lay-out of the trade show floor were praised, and exhibitors were excited about the higher than expected number of visitors.


Sector ambassadors

All six sectors were represented by so called sector ambassadors, who acted as material experts for their sector. These experts guaranteed an excellent representation of the trends and developments that are taking place in the different sectors. On top of this, these sector ambassadors took in most instances the role of moderators during the sector specific lecture programmes, connecting the various lecturers and their fields of expertise with each other.


Caroli Buitenhuis (chain innovator at Green Serendipity) was the ambassador of the sector Graphic & Packaging, Marina Toeters ( of the sector Fashion & Workwear, Marcel Vroom (industrial designer at MVAVD and NPK Design)  of the sector Products, Erik Tempelman (Associate professor Design Engineering at TU Delft), of the sector Mobility, Odette Ex (Ex Interiors)  of the sector Interior and Ulrich Knaack (professor at TU Delft and TU Darmstad) of the sector Architecture.


Cross-sectoral material innovation

Material Xperience 2018 made clear, that material innovation doesn’t stick to one specific sector. In many cases, material innovations that were initially developed for a specific sector or purpose, are also of great value to other sectors. For example, the unique characteristics of carbon fibre are not only used in the automotive industry, but are also used in bicycles and tables, as presented during the materials fair. Also techniques such as 3D-printing are applied in a growing number of sectors with contrasting and astonishing results. Taken all together, with this last edition, Material Xperience built a bridge between the six different sectors, stimulating cross-sectoral material innovation and development.


Highlights per sector

Within the sector Products, lectures were given by, amongst others, ambassador Marcel Vroom from NPK Design and MVAVD, and Caroline Prisse of Van Tetterode Glas Studio. At the materials exhibition one could enjoy Studio Wynd’s coffee table Black Wave, made of carbon fibre, the design solar panels by Studio Solarix and the clever, magnetic click system by Monkeylink.


The lecture programme of Mobility was represented by, amongst others, Erik Tempelman, associate professor Design Engineering at TU Delft, and René de Vries of Aito-Touch, an authority in the field of Haptic Technology. The exhibition consisted of, amongst others, a 3D-printed ship’s propeller by RAMLAB, Audi’s ‘breathing’ car chair, Renault’s 3D-weaved interior fabric, and a large amount of innovative bicycles.


The sector Architecture was represented by the lecturers Ulrich Knaack and Lisa Rammig, of the world famous engineering design practice EOC, which is responsible for all the complex glass constructions of the Apple Stores. The materials exhibition consisted of 3D-printed parametric knots designed by Alamir Mohsen of TU Darmstad, and the 3D-printed, ceramic vault shading system Hexashade, developed by the Advanced Ceramics R&D Laboratory.


The lecture programme of the sector Fashion & Workwear was presented by, amongst others, Marina Toeters and Aniele Hoitink of Neffa. The materials exhibition showed MycoTEX by Hoitink, textile made of mycelium (the root system of mushrooms), designs by fashion designer Jef Montes, the Print in Motion-project by Anouk van der Sande, designs by Jasna Rokegem and many more innovative materials.


During the lecture programme of Interior, Odette Ex, Nienke Hoogvliet, Tjeerd Veenhoven and Simone de Waart of Material Sense gave interesting lectures. The materials exhibition consisted of, amongst others, a design by the international renowned artist Claudy Jongstra, leather made of cow stomachs (by Billie van Katwijk), the Odger chair by IKEA and many other objects.


Graphic & Packaging presented a lecture programme with Caroli Buitenhuis, Willy Mooren and Christiaan Janssen, and showed several circular packaging types, for example from coffee bean to coffee pod, and from tomato stems to mycelium packaging.


From next year on: MaterialDistrict

Material Xperience 2018 was a great success, as the positive responses of both exhibitors and visitors show. Starting next year, Material Xperience will have a new name: MaterialDistrict, reinforcing the bridge between the different sectors, stimulating cross-sectoral material innovation and development for R&D and Design professionals. MaterialDistrict 2019 takes place from 12 – 14 March 2019 in Rotterdam Ahoy.