Abstract

This paper draws on the experience of practice-led research based in academia, which investigates the possibility of making hard surfaces soft. So far the project, in its fifth year of development, has led to three patents being filed on technology allowing manufacturers to embed textile technologies onto the surface of precast concrete surfaces resulting in hybrid but integral finishes. The work was initially understood as decorative but as the project has moved into testing and analysis phases a better understanding of the resultant altered characteristics of precast concrete surfaces has emerged – ie the resultant hybrid concrete surfaces overcome some of the negative characteristics of concrete to become colourful, warm, acoustically soft, thermally less variable and people friendly. In short, this design-led research process has extended the characteristics and hence potential of a global material. Following on from a brief outline of the project and evidence of its innovation, the paper will be structured around two central sections examining some of the strategies that have evolved in this hybrid process and examining potential tactics that have led to innovative outcomes. The first section will examine how conceptual and theoretical thinking, generated out of a usercentred critique of the built environment and an understanding of the relationship between architecture and textiles, can demonstrably lead to pragmatic, innovative and marketable solutions. The second section will look at the interrelationships between creativity, innovation and collaboration and address some potentials and challenges. The paper represents an early attempt to make sense of this design–led project. It aims to capture and contextualize some possible transferable tactics that might lead to more conscious and explicit processes for crafting innovation.

Keywords:

Architecture, Textiles, Concrete, Collaboration, Design-Led Research, Research-Led Design, Craft, Innovation

Share

COinS
 
Jul 7th, 12:00 AM

Set in Concrete? Crafting Innovation

This paper draws on the experience of practice-led research based in academia, which investigates the possibility of making hard surfaces soft. So far the project, in its fifth year of development, has led to three patents being filed on technology allowing manufacturers to embed textile technologies onto the surface of precast concrete surfaces resulting in hybrid but integral finishes. The work was initially understood as decorative but as the project has moved into testing and analysis phases a better understanding of the resultant altered characteristics of precast concrete surfaces has emerged – ie the resultant hybrid concrete surfaces overcome some of the negative characteristics of concrete to become colourful, warm, acoustically soft, thermally less variable and people friendly. In short, this design-led research process has extended the characteristics and hence potential of a global material. Following on from a brief outline of the project and evidence of its innovation, the paper will be structured around two central sections examining some of the strategies that have evolved in this hybrid process and examining potential tactics that have led to innovative outcomes. The first section will examine how conceptual and theoretical thinking, generated out of a usercentred critique of the built environment and an understanding of the relationship between architecture and textiles, can demonstrably lead to pragmatic, innovative and marketable solutions. The second section will look at the interrelationships between creativity, innovation and collaboration and address some potentials and challenges. The paper represents an early attempt to make sense of this design–led project. It aims to capture and contextualize some possible transferable tactics that might lead to more conscious and explicit processes for crafting innovation.

 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.