June 25, 2020

Dr. Andrew Dent Kicks Off Interior Design’s NeoCon re:Source with Antiviral Materials Talk

Interior Design hosted its second virtual re:Source event of the year June 25, enabling designers and manufacturers near and far to discuss the latest in product and material innovations in a simulated conference space, complete with “upper level” lounge areas. 

“We’re super excited to have you all here,” said Carol Cisco, publisher of Interior Design, in her opening remarks via video. She then offered a heartfelt thank you to each sponsor, reminding attendees to stick to their carefully planned meeting schedules or visit one of several lounge areas for any needed breaks. But before designers took their first “seat” of the day, jumping from one simulated table to the next for aptly timed 17-minute meetings with manufacturers, Material ConneXion EVP of Materials Research, Dr. Andrew Dent, delivered a timely keynote touching on the antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties of materials. 

“We’re going to have a very different approach to materials in the coming years due to this pandemic,” said Dr. Dent, noting that one question worth asking is: How do we interact with these materials? Throughout his presentation, Dr. Dent discussed the unique characteristics of various antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial materials from the virus-fighting properties of metals, like copper and nickel, to those of natural oils such as peppermint and tea tree oil, to innovative antiviral fabrics. Dr. Dent also shared an eye-opening discovery made recently by material scientists: insect wings, with their small natural ridges, create a surface inhospitable to the growth of viruses, which means surfaces that replicate that design may do the same.  

Overall, Dr. Dent encouraged designers and manufacturers to focus on the use of antiviral materials in hard-to-clean or high-touch areas, rather than finding ways to integrate these into every surface imaginable. “The majority of the materials out there can withstand most of this cleaning,” he said, noting that many manufacturers already are thinking about how to best use materials to maintain health and safety in our current environments. “With good design and good space planning, we can overcome those challenges without much concern.” 

Throughout the nearly three-hour event, attendees had the opportunity to continue the conversation with Dr. Dent in one of the lounge areas or connect with the Interior Design team. After several rounds of stimulating discussions, participants capped off the day with a virtual happy hour on Zoom. “Grab a cocktail and we’ll make this our own mini happy hour,” said Cisco with a smile. And indeed they did.

Thank you to our re:Source sponsors:

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