Library > Search > Temporal Transformation of Materials: Can Designers Harness the Effects of Time to Create a Contemporary Aesthetic of 'Worldliness' within New Products?

Article options

    Login is required to download this article. You can register via the register page.

Temporal Transformation of Materials: Can Designers Harness the Effects of Time to Create a Contemporary Aesthetic of 'Worldliness' within New Products?

Fiona Jane Candy , Simon Sommerville , Mirja Kälviäinen , Hannu Oksanen

Like human beings, earthly materials age. They weather; their skins show wear and tear and the ravages of time. This worldly effect has created cultural value systems that cover the full grey scale of emotion and aesthetic from 'beautiful' to 'ugly'. 'Patina' describes an altered physical surface but also implies provenance or authenticity. But equally, transience of surface is interpreted less positively in other materials or by other peoples: patina may simply imply the pejorative of 'old'. Quirks of history, society and culture have meant that some materials are not granted the space to grow old gracefully. Damage to the brand-new lustre of many modern plastics for instance, often implies irreparable damage and therefore disposal.

This is a complex and important field for designers interested in extending the emotional and social life of products. This paper communicates aspects of the research of a group based in UK and in Finland, who are collaborating to establish the foundations of the study of temporality in materials. Research involves the observation of transformation over time in different classes of materials but also peoples’ attitudes and responses to them. The authors will establish research context, key issues and report on findings to date.


affect, custodianship, Haptics, lifecycle, materials, memory, surface, transformation, Time