Meet the Material Girls
The world of materials is more fascinating than many would expect at first glance – and nobody knows this as well as dan pearlmans’ Material Girls, Angela Rathke and Julia Klug. Their mission? Finding the most innovative materials, categorising them in the dan material library and giving us a peak behind the curtains of their exciting work with the “dansmaterialworld” newsletter.
Angela and Julia both have a long-standing passion for the work with materials. For Angela, this began during her first job in a small architectural office in Berlin. Through the planning and implementation of projects and the management of the material inventory, Angela got into touch with the diversity of materials for the first time. Since 2006, Angela is now using her expertise for her work at dan pearlman, where she has stayed loyal to architectural planning and project implementation. In addition to her full-time work at dan, Angela is also deeply immersed in the world of materials privately. “I’m always curious to discover new materials or try out material combinations,” Angela notes in the interview.
Julia, on the other hand, has her roots in design. After graduating from the Berliner art college with a degree in textile- and surface design in 2008, the native Viennese worked as a costume designer on various projects. Later, Julia responded to a job posting as Material Scout at dan pearlman. During the job interview, Angela und Julia met for the first time and both immediately knew that it was a match “made in Material Heaven”. Julia stood out as the candidate who enthusiastically exclaimed ‘wow that’s great!’, rather than, ‘oh, that’s a lot!’. Today, the two of them are a well-coordinated team and are able to share their enthusiasm: “We complement each other so well because we have the same passion for the subject of materials,” says Angela. The Material Girls have already been around since 2013, under the direction of Angela. Since only ladies felt responsible for the material library in the past, the name “Material Girls” was born.
A WORLD FULL OF SUBSTANCE / THE MATERIAL WORLD
Wood, glass, metal, concrete or plastic – the search for new material never stops and many manufacturers contribute to the never-ending stream of new products and innovations that flow onto the market. Ultimately, the variety of materials determines the possibilities available to designers and architects. Often, the manufacturers go to great lengths to demonstrate these variations and turn the presentation of new materials into a real show put together “out of the suitcase” of the representatives. As material scouts, Angela and Julia pay particular attention to which products are currently in demand or which may be in the future. An important aspect is how adaptable the materials are, because every customer and every project reflect individual needs and brand values. Of course, these must also be visible in the selected material. Despite years of experience, the two Material Girls still regularly find themselves surprised by how versatile materials actually are.
After Julia and Angela have found a new, exciting material, they categorize and place it in the material library. The library is spread out across the entire dan Campus and includes more than 10.000 individual samples within 15 categories. “There is actually never enough space, but I try to keep the library as compact and organised as possible”, Julia explains. The goal is to create a library that is accessible to every employee on Campus and that inspires and supports the planning and implementation of projects.
Sustainability and what it means in the world of materials is an important topic for Angela and Julia. For example, Cradle to Cradle is a development within the textile industry that ensures that all materials are returned to the production cycle after they have been used, so that virtually no waste is generated. Cradle to Cradle has also arrived in the world of materials. Still, the two experts are cautious: Is a product made of recycled acrylic really sustainable, or are organic materials, such as moor lacquer or mushroom leather, the better choice?
“It often happens that we are presented with really innovative materials, but then learn that they are not available for real construction plans because they were only created for a university project,” explains Julia. New materials are often developed and tested, but not put into a serial production. This blockade is particularly present when it comes to sustainable materials. “Often the manufacturer does not (yet) see the added value of sustainable materials or is not brave enough to actually mass-produce them,” says Angela. “The certificates that are awarded to products in the world of materials are also quite disappointing. Not everything that claims to be sustainable actually is,” Julia adds. Overall, both would like to see more courage within the industry to work towards establishing sustainability long-term.
MATERIAL WORLD DIGITAL
Recently, Angela and Julia started their latest project – the digitisation of the material warehouse. “It is a real mammoth task”, Julia explains, ” every individual sample of each respective material has to be checked, categorized and labelled with an adjective”. Through this process, the two are creating a virtual library that every dan can access and search for the right material for a project or simply to get inspired.
The Material Girls have a clear vision in mind: with their digital “dansmaterialworld” newsletter and the library, they want to support the creative process of the designers and architects and make their work a little bit easier.
NEWS FROM THE MATERIAL WORLD
Already now, Julia and Angela are regularly opening the digital door to their Material World with the “dansmaterialworld” newsletter, where they share the most exciting developments and news around materials with their fans. Each month, they carefully curate content that captures their passion for the subject perfectly – visually appealing and packaged in clear words. Whether pineapple leather, houses made of cardboard or wood that is as soft as fabric – every newsletter is a source of wonder. The careful research that goes into each newsletter also aims at expanding existing and new contacts to manufacturers and producers. This way, “dansmaterialworld” fans are the first to get an exclusive look at the most innovative materials.
We wish both of them all the best, as well as a continuous lucky hand when choosing materials!