In his lecture "Material Design. Immersion in Processes - Realizing Ideas", the CEO and Founder of the Görlitz-based startup nevi, Tim Mergelsberg, takes us through a true material revolution: Based on the development phases of his surface material made of birch bark, he outlines how to think from the material's performance during development.
The path from the discovery of the raw material, as it was widely used for thousands of years, to the creation of the finished product was marked by challenges typical of working with innovative renewable materials:
Although the idea was a clear goal for the material design, Tim Mergelsberg's team experienced that an experimental approach in small stages, an "immersion in the processes" was necessary in the implementation: It is a matter of giving space to the natural properties that such a renewable material brings with it, and trusting them, instead of orienting oneself to the specifications that had been created for plastics.
For a long time, industrialization and competition from plastics had stood in the way of using birch bark; today, standard orientation and planning uncertainties are among the hurdles in the further development of natural materials. But to shift the focus away from petroleum-based materials and achieve a circular industry, a radical rethink is needed - both on the corporate side and in social and economic institutions.