Material Directions 2024: Submerge

Conflicting feelings of allure and anxiety bubble under the surface of our relationship with water.

Visually, this story explores the physical qualities of water in surface and pattern while other materials are directly sourced from the sea. Practical human responses to water inspire buoyant and water repelling materials.

Submerge was first published in MIX Magazine issue 69, and the following material, pattern and finish directions are explored in more detail in our 2024 CMF Directions.




A natural direction for this story sees sealife as an inspiration for pattern. The intricacy of coral reefs informs Sangmin Oh’s Knitted Lights, and in combining varied light-responsive yarns the knitted sculptures react in different settings, so when it’s dark the pieces emit a luminous glow.



In hard surfaces, artificial oceanographic landscapes are created in ceramics and glass in Analogia Project’s Acquario collection.



Water Repellent



Themes of protection and practicality are explored in finishes that repel water. Rains’ Rolltop rucksack achieves metallic iridescence in their signature waterproof PU fabric.



A natural outcome for accessories and footwear, Loewe’s rubberlike translucent Flow runners are made from PVC.





Human responses to water inspire buoyant and inflatable materials. Industrial design students at Muthesius Academy Keil’s Big Air exhibition featured inflatable products from lighting to robotics using compressed air as the main component for construction and design.



Often perceived as single-use objects, Romain Albers manipulates and assembles inflatable toys to create the Expendable Chair.



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Image credits from top: Sangmin Oh | Knitted Light | Photo Ronald Smits; Analogia Project | Console Acquario collection | Photo Mattia Lotti, courtesy of Nilufar Gallery; Zena Holloway | @root.full | Rootfull | Model Faith at Body London; Rains AW 2022; Loewe SS 2022 | Flow runner; Muthesius Academy Keil | Big Air; Romain Albers | Expendable Chair | Photo Elias Asselbergh; Zieta | Chippensteel 0.5 chair in Cosmic Blue | Heat Collection| Set design Ula Kaczmarek | Photo Weronika Trojanowska