MATERIALLY, THE MATERIAL AT THE HEART OF THE BUSINESS STRATEGY
Materially helps companies in the development and promotion of sustainable innovation starting from materials. They work with a focus on Circular Economy and intelligent innovation applying a design-centered approach and benefitting from a broad background of international projects and experiences.
Materially was established in January 2020, inheriting the skills and knowledge content of Material ConneXion Italia, a licensee of Material ConneXion Inc., present in Milan since 2002. Headquartered in New York, since 1997 Material ConneXion (MCX) has pioneered the creation of a physical materials library and a database entirely dedicated to materials.
Today Materially is an independent consultancy company, a point of reference in Italy and internationally for the search of material solutions in every area of design application. Strengthened by a design-driven approach, it combines the needs of the manufacturing world, the demands of sustainability and circularity and the doing-well, doing-beautifully and doing-creatively aspects of Italian culture.
Over the years, the partnership with MCX has proceeded and Materially still hosts one of the most interesting material libraries in the world focused on innovation and sustainability, kept constantly updated through a widespread global scouting action.
Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?
Core business of our company is definitely advisory: constant search and monitoring of material innovation through daily contact with manufacturers, technology providers, universities, start-ups and research centers, plus the experience of more than 20 years in the area of materials, lead to an outstanding and deep knowledge of the sector. With a diverse ecosystem of stakeholders nurtured during years, we also becamea consolidated meeting hub between producers and users of materials.
E.E: What’s the news about new products?
We have a new type of membership service called “Materials Insights”. This is a single source for 24/7 access to trend forecasting, material recommendations and more than 10k material innovations. This tool is the perfect starting point for all companies that want to make material choice a major innovation lever within product strategy, shortening research time and enabling an out of the box materials search mode.
The service is fully provided and maintained by Material ConneXion, Materially partner for more than 20 years.
E.E: What are the ranges of products?
We work on different axes: advisory, networking services and partnership with Material ConneXion.
For the advisory part we carry out targeted and specific projects aimed to enhance products through materials. This can turn into different actions: identify material solutions for new products to reduce the environmental impact, for the development of new aesthetics, solve technical or supply problems or to evaluate characteristics of new materials and lastly identify application opportunities and build a path to approach new markets.
We can also work with materials manufacturers to explore application opportunities for new materials evaluating their characteristics, offering bench-marking activities and building a path to approach new markets.
Talking about networking services, for over 10 years we have been the point of reference during the Milan Design Week for those looking for innovative materials: that’s why we offer exceptional visibility to material manufacturers who want to showcase their material innovations within the framework of this important event in a clear and influential curatorial framework. Furthermore, we organize B2B and technological dissemination events, coordinate participation in international events, and accompany them in all phases of approaching markets. Beginning from the development of positioning strategies and design directions, to the presentation in our virtual showroom (M Selection).
Lastly, we are partners of Material ConneXion US, and we host their Materials Library, the leading database of innovative materials with 10.000+ entries from over 7.500 producers around the world.
E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?
The market changed significantly in the last few years, gaining awareness around sustainability and circular economy as a must direction for design and manufacturing. Also, materials have gained centrality at all levels of the production chain, with EU policies being put in place to stimulate value chain transparency and regulate end of life of materials used in many industries.
This all speaks of a maturing – if not quite ripe – market for the kind of services we offer.
E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?
The main trend we witness as consultants on materials is that companies in all industries are increasingly targeting materials with characteristics of environmental sustainability. This is a concept that has radically changed in the last few years, moving from material’s single features such as “recycled” or “bio-based”, to a more comprehensive and holistic approach where sustainability comes to encompass the whole life cycle of a material, whose impact is assessed and measured with specific tools. We see many opportunities for materials manufacturers offering realistic solutions to reduce the environmental impact of products in terms of carbon footprint, in all the steps of a product life. This goes from solutions to support eco-design principles, such as mechanical joints or other systems to help disassembly, to raw materials (recycled, bio-based), to the product’s use (i.e., lightness for energy saving in transportation), up to end of life (recyclability, mono-material mechanisms).
E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?
Being Materially a service provider offering advisory services on the selection and use of materials, we have developed various formats to support companies. In 2023 we launched the release of the new digital platform on materials from our partner Material ConneXion, with a completely renewed interface. Besides, we are developing new services to help companies, R&D and design centers to organize their own internal material libraries. In particular, we see an increasing need to file these materials according to their sustainability features. We help them build the conceptual frame as well as the digital infrastructure, in a way that data could be integrated with AI to support a more effective management of information.
E.E: What estimations do you have for the rest of 2023?
We are really getting to the end of the year but glad to see new projects keep coming in, as if the flow of need for materials solutions is not taking a break. We are particularly proud of the position we have earned overtime with different stakeholders: being a reference for materials solutions for multiple industrial sectors as well as designers and material manufacturers.
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