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idea of north

Nested within the exhibition Idea of North at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, is a geodesic dome that hosts the Future Thinkers exhibition supported in partnership with Ryder Architecture. This curated, dome display, developed by MaterialDriven aims to take the visitor through a material journey into northern identity. Today, in its post-industrial future, the North of England may be said to be pushing boundaries in new ways. Knowledge and innovation in the realm of materials–both handcrafted and those manufactured at large scale–continues to be pivotal.

From the super-material Graphene to structurally advanced timber substitutes, to atmospherically responsive materials, to sensory, tactile surfaces that encapsulate scent and memory, and to technology that can predict the aging of design and construction materials–all of this, and much more is emerging in the North. An equal focus is placed on the heritage of the North, and its history with materials such as steel, cotton, wool and more.

Mounted to the exterior and interior of the dome’s structure, from the ground to ceiling, are a variety of materials–diverse in form, color, size, texture and Indeed their source. While the facade of the dome displays a grid of visually dramatic materials, those on the inside have a finer grain and encourage visitors to look at them closely, to touch surfaces and investigate them. Interspersed with the dome’s inset triangles occupied by such engaging materials are thought-provoking questions that invite the visitor to pause in the interior space of the dome, and contemplate the identity of the North, and ideas concerning material futures.