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Discover the First Material Library in Eastern Europe in our interview with arch. Florin Cobuz

publicat in: Interviews // Publicata pe 13.02.2018

Recently, the first library of materials in Romania, a space dedicated to specialists, students and everyone interested in construction, design or architecture, has opened in Bucharest, inspired by an idea already existing in the major cities of the world: New York, Seoul or Milan. In the MATER Library you can study approximately 2,000 types of rare and less rare materials.

They are made of plastic, metal, ceramics, textiles, wood or glass and can be used in construction, furniture making or fashion design. In this context, here are more details about this project in a PIATRAONLINE interview with Florin Cobuz, co-founder and development director MATER - Materials Library.

1. The "material library" concept may well be familiar to professionals, but it is likely to be perceived as “strange” by most Romanians. How would you describe this material library? What types of material can we find here?

MATER is an extensive and constantly renewed collection of material samples - dedicated to professionals working with materials (architects, interior designers, product designers, clothing and jewelers, illustrators, scenographers, artists), organizations developing products and new materials and all those interested in building something with the help of the above mentioned professionals. We assemble in this collection materials from the most diverse areas, the newest materials on the market, innovative materials...

The categories in which they are distributed are chosen to be easily indexed and found by anyone: Wood, Stone, Concrete, Textiles, Glass, Composite Materials Natural, etc.

2. Besides being a practical, tangible data bank, in other words a material library, MATER offers other types of workspaces and activities. What about those and who can participate?

In addition to being able to discover and touch materials, while consulting technical sheets, visitors can use the space for team work, meet with customers, inspiration for new projects. Apart from the exhibition space itself, the Library benefits from a multifunctional hall with 120 seats for launches, conferences, exhibitions and workshops, completed by a huge lobby for receiving guest at the events.

We have already organized a series of conferences and seminars on materials and trends in architecture and design, as well as a series of hackathons and we are ready to host the most diverse events associated with these industries.

The newly opened co-working space is designed to solve the need for peace of mind at Nod makerspace and addresses all those who work in creative industries and need to work in a space with contemporary design and all the facilities of a co-working space.

3. The contact with matter, with texture has always been an incentive for creators. Designers, artists and architects will certainly be among the most delighted by the existence of such a space. What are your strategies for attracting the "amateur" audience, who can discover at MATER new alternatives to the space in which they live or work? They can also get inspiration from here, right? How do they get to know you?

A materials library featured as a source of inspiration was revealed to me in the first library of this type in Paris, when actually did not want to leave. The experience you have when you touch the material is nothing compared to seeing it on a screen. And if you can combine some materials and compare them, to be able to make the right choices, then you have a complete experience.

In the early years, until the Library becomes an indispensable tool for designing a project, to attract the “amateur” public, but not only, we will organize events with different themes, whether or not related to materials. Already this is happening well here, we hosted over 20 events since the October 2017 launch.

4. You are up to date with new trends in materials dedicated to interior and product designers, architects and artists. How informed are Romanian specialists in these areas? How synchronic with the West is the "material culture" in Romania?

Romania is still in the beginning in adopting materials based on the qualities or properties they have. And here I am not referring to specialists, but to the customer making choices regarding the used materials.

For professionals is’ too early to have an opinion, but considering that we're trying to bring everything new and innovative into the world, we all have something to learn. The material library would like to become a tool for continuous learning and experimentation.

Every day there are new materials in the world that come to the Romanian market after many years. Still Valea Cascadelor area in Bucharest is the main choice for customers who choose to save money at the expense of quality. And many do it from inertia, from education, not from poor information, because information is now available to anyone with just a click away.

5. For 10 years at PIATRAONLINE, we try to promote the practical and aesthetic values of natural stone. With regard to this, we are very pleased with the appearance of the MATER project in Romania. In conclusion, we would like to know what you think from your own experience are the most popular opinions about natural stone among the Romanians, with good and bad.

I believe that natural stone in Romania is still regarded as a rustic material and I'm not talking about architects and designers, of course, but the general public who does not work with specialists. Methods for cutting and using stone have improved so much lately that anyone can view this material as a very good resource in construction and decoration projects. It's natural, it looks very good and it's durable.

Florin Cobuz, co-founder and development director MATER - Materials Library.

More details at: materlibrary.ro/en/

Discover the First Material Library in Eastern Europe in our interview with arch. Florin Cobuz
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