Interview with Ignass Verpoest, the initiator of the “Fibre-Fixed. Composites in Design” exhibition
The “Fibre-Fixed. Composites in Design” exhibition showcases what can be achieved when fibres are combined with a bio-plastic, demonstrating how composites can bring out the best in both materials. Fibre-reinforced plastics are very strong and rigid, yet they are also very light. For example, carbon fibres are as rigid as steel but five times lighter than and at least three times as rigid as aluminium at only half the weight. What is more, these fibres are many times stronger than regular structural steel, or even the best aluminium. The exhibition will take place in Design Museum Gent, from 26/10/1/ to 21/04/19. To learn more about the exhibition, we approached Ignass Verpoest, who initiated it.
Ignass Verpoest gives us an overview of the “Fibre-Fixed. Composites in Design” exhibition
JEC Composites Magazine: What motivated you to start this project?
Ignaas Verpoest: In 2002, we organised the exhibition « From Bakelite to Composite », as part of “Compositeson- Tour”, a science communication project for which we won a JEC Award (in 2003) and the Descartes Prize for Science Communication of the European Commission in 2004. Now, about 15 years later, we want to inform the general public again about what composites are, and how designers are inspired by composites to elaborate new concepts and develop new products. The focus of this exhibition has shifted from science communication to provoking a discussion on how designers do address a number of societal challenges, and how composites can help them in finding new, innovative solutions. Hence, the exhibition will show a range of new products in domains such as sustainable mobility, energy provision or specific products for an inclusive and ageing society. But we also want to show how designers use in a creative way the emerging renewable materials or address the issue of recycling of composites.
JEC Composites Magazine: What is the target audience for this exhibition?
Ignaas Verpoest: The Design museum Gent has a strong track record in exhibitions which focus on the interaction between so-ciety and design. Recently, an exhibition on how robotics will change our society, “Hello Robot”, attracted 80.000 visitors. Also with this exhibition, we hope to welcome not only design enthusiasts or composite engi-neers, but everybody interested in what happens at the crossroads of new technologies and the creative industry, and how this will influence our future. We also will have specific programs for schools, and we will organize, during the six month period of the exhibition, several workshops and symposia for a more specialized audience.
Saroléa MANX 7 electric motorbike by Bjorn and Torsten Robbens (Belgium, 2018)
JEC Composites Magazine: What exactly do you hope visitors will get out of the exhibition?
Ignaas Verpoest: A design museum of course wants to show « nice » products, but with this exhibition, as with previous ones, the museum wants to go beyond this ‘classical’ approach. We hope that visitors will find an answer to these two questions: “how do new and recently developed composites and composite production processes create new opportunities for designers, when they try to find answers to today’s societal challenges?“ and “ how do designers inspire the development of new composite materials/concepts?”. But, of course, we also want it to be a nice, colourful and exciting exhibition, where visitors will discover products and objects they have never seen before!
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