Aalto University Digital Design Laboratory, }ADD{

Let the material not confine.

Launch Event

A celebration of the ADD METAPHYSICS publication took place at Design Museum Helsinki on Thursday 14 March. The program of the evening explored copying and biomimicry in design, artistic practice, and material science. There were also presentations from architect Ines Weizman (London Metropolitan University) and material scientist Olli Ikkala (Department of Applied Physics, Aalto University), as well as a screening of Harun Farocki’s video work ‘Parallel’ (2012). Leah Whitman-Salkin moderated a discussion between editor Jenna Sutela and contributors to the publication.

Copying as a Media Form, a Lecture by Ines Weizman.

Olli Ikkala: BIOMIMETICS —What does nature teach for materials science?

Student Course

In line with the recent “materialist” turn in philosophy and cultural studies, yet viewing it from the perspective of design and art, the ADD METAPHYSICS student course calls for a material awakening after the digital dawn. It provides a theoretical framework for students of architecture, media, design, and art to position themselves and their practice in relation to key contemporary issues such as climate change, the material nature of information networks, or the notion of sustainability. The course will take place within Aalto University during spring 2014, and will consist of theoretical and practical exercises building on the essays and assignments in the ADD METAPHYSICS publication.

Mother of Pearl Workshop

A special material was produced for the ADD METAPHYSICS publication, and featured on the cover. The mimetic nacre was created in collaboration with the Molecular Materials group at the Department of Applied Physics with André Gröschel, Juhana Sorvari and Maria Morits making the material at ADD.

The strong yet lightweight material is a combination of polymer polyvinylalcohol (PVA) and nanoclay (Cloisite®). It is a product of their research around the microscale structures of nature’s mother of pearl, which lines the pearl oyster, freshwater pearl mussels, and abalone shell. For further information, see Olli Ikkala et al., “Large-Area, Lightweight and Thick Biomimetic Composites with Superior Material Properties via Fast, Economic, and Green Pathways,” Nano Letters 10, no. 8 (2010): 2742–48.

A View Through Printed Translucency

For the ADD METAPHYSICS publication a translucent circle was produced with technology developed at VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland) with Pasi Puukko and Marja Juvonen in the lead. The technology enables the fabrication of low-cost translucent effects on various papers and other fiber-based products.


Jane Bennett, Contributor
Vera Bühlmann, Contributor
Graham Harman, Contributor
Ines Weizman, Contributor & Lecturer
Andrew Witt, Contributor
Leah Whitman-Salkin, Text Editor & Speaker
Harun Farocki, Featured Artist
Olli Ikkala, Lecturer

Jenna Sutela, Editor & Curator
Johanna Lundberg, Designer
Florencia Colombo, ADD Art Direction + Cultural Projects