This is where smart materials come to change your life. This hi-tech materials will transform the way you build and experience architecture. First let’s put a quick definition out there:
“Smart materials are designed materials that have one or more properties that can be significantly changed in a controlled fashion by external stimuli such as stress, temperature, moisture, PH, electric or magnetic fields.
With that out of the way, we can begin to explore what can we do with different smart materials inside our home to make it come alive, to be responsive to the environment and us, the humans living inside. There are a lot of materials, but for interior architecture, I will focus on these categories: Thermo chromic, Photochromic, Hydro-mechanical, Shape memory, super hydrophobic materials (the last one is the present wrapping, keep reading don’t ask questions!).
- Thermo chromic paint (Superpower: Chameleon) the paint that changes color when a certain temperature is reached, can be used in the bathroom, for multiple reasons. Let’s say you paint your room white, at 20 degrees C, the room will be white, as the room heats up for you to take a bath at 30 degrees C the wall changes into another color, that you can choose when you buy the paint. The cool thing is that with this paint if you touch the walls or other surfaces treated with this type of material, the color will change based on your body heat, leaving colored handprints and footprints of course temporarily until the surface loses that heat. I think that will be a fun bathroom for sure. You can use this type of paint everywhere you need to control temperature or have fun, keep an eye on the children’s room.
- Photochromic materials (Superpower: Light equalizer) change their opacity based on the amount of light that they are exposed to. The obvious function for this kind of material is shading, windows. You may have to forget about curtains or blinds, with photochromic glass. You will never have to worry about bright direct sunlight poking you in the eyes as you try to relax in the afternoon, you will always have the perfect amount of natural sunlight all day, every day.
- Hydro-mechanical materials (Superpower: Microscopic water detection) react to changes in humidity and are excellent for a dynamic effect if you have an visual impact wall, the material will change shape based on the relative humidity inside the room, very useful for you to see if the air is humid enough or not. Because humidity is not perfectly constant all day, the shapes on the wall will seem alive, expanding and contracting, breathing. With this superpower you will now be aware if your lungs are getting the care they need. Thank you hydro-mechanical materials!
- Shape memory materials (Superpower: Shape shifting) are deformable polymer plastics that “remember” their original shape. This has possible uses for kitchenware, lamps, different object, making your home seem organic and transformable. Imagine having a pot that doesn’t fit in the drawer, you just scramble it and when you need it, it will magically restore its original shape. Do you want to save half the storage space? That’s the way to do it! The transportation of furniture will never be the same, forget about Ikea with all the screws and tools, you will get the same package but the object will get in its shape all by itself. All this will keep your house ever changing and interesting. Ever tried to put a sphere through a triangle hole? Now you can, mind blown.
5 Super hydrophobic materials (Superpower: Untouchable) are materials that repel water, they can’t get wet and because of that, dust particles cannot dirty your carpets or tapestry. Every surface treated with this coating will remain clean or will be very easy to clean. You will not need to wash carpets, only vacuum clean them. Even though this is not a smart material per se, I think its properties will help keep your house cleaner than ever so you can enjoy everything else. This is the Untouchable effect, materials will stay clean and colors won’t fade, your house will suffer from fresh home syndrome, never aging, always fresh, now that’s a present wrap.
The material revolution has barely started, so expect interesting superpowers to pop up every day from now on. The best thing about these materials is the fact that you don’t need electrical energy, the material is applied and that’s it, no wires, no batteries, no CPU, everything works forever, predictable, and safe. This is the future as materials go.
So say goodbye to the ancient romans because, future here we come!