IDEMC4: Material Driven Design

Designing for material experiences with a material as starting point

Materials research is constantly evolving, leading to novel, superior materials like bio-based plastics, piezoelectric textiles, and temperature sensitive polymers. The potential experiences of these unfamiliar, unusual and novel emerging materials are often challenging to envision and design for.

20 and 21 June 2018
Group size
10-16 participants
Industrial Design Engineering, TU Delft
11 June 2018

Material Driven Design (MDD) supports the design of meaningful material applications with the material as a point of departure. Designers qualify the material not only for what it is, but also for what it does, what it expresses to us, what it elicits from us, and what it makes us do. MDD helps designers to structure, communicate and reflect on their actions in design for material experiences, and gain design competences in exploring, understanding, defining and mobilizing the material’s novel properties.


Learning Objectives

During this master class, you will learn to:

  • learn how to implement the MDD method when designing with materials;
  • understand how to characterise materials technically and experientially;
  • gain competence in bridging technical properties and experiential qualities of materials;
  • get a feeling for the underlying reasons of our material experiences;
  • gain hands-on experiences in designing with unique emerging materials.


  • Material Driven Design (MDD) Method: Four steps to meaningful material applications;
  • Technical and experiential characterisation of materials;
  • Hands-on sessions to tinker and design with some unique emerging materials.

A clear explanation of the theory behind the method, followed by a hands on application of this method.

― Participant (2016)

This Master Class provided a method to the madness of material selection, which was very valuable.

― Participant (2016)



9:00Welcome and coffee
9:30Introduction and overview
Presentation of the aim and structure of the course, expectations and backgrounds of the participants
10:00Lecture: Introduction to Material Driven Design
Motivation, theoretical foundation, action steps
11:30Workshop 1: Understanding the Material
Introduction to the MDD Step 1 components: How do we understand a material?
at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering
14:00Hands On: Tinkering with The Material
Exploring the unique qualities of the material (there will be two material cases under the following themes: smart + sustainable)
16:00Workshop 2: Material Benchmarking
Positioning the material among similar materials/applications
17:30End of the first day

Location: Art Centre, Delft

9:30Workshop 3: Experiential Characterisation of Materials
Reviewing different tools and methods to explore how a material is appraised by people
11:30Workshop 4: Materials Experience Vision
Reflecting on the purpose of the material, and envisioning how it would be experienced in the final application
at the Porceleyne Fles
14:00Workshop 5: Material Driven Product Concepts
Group session on possible application directions for the material
Comments, questions from participants, possibilities for future projects

Practical Information

All participants receive a copy of Karana’s book ‘Materials Experience: Fundamentals of Materials and Design’ (2014, Elsevier).

The relevant papers and the MDD Toolkit will be send as a PDF to you by mail at the beginning of the course. All materials provided are included in the course fee.

How to prepare?
This masterclass requires no specific preparation.

After the course
Two months after the course, a pre-set consultation timeslot will be offered to all participants to share experiences and ask questions to the IDE Master Class. The format and the timing will be discussed with the participants during the IDE Master Class.