Italian studio Carlo Ratti Associati and architect Italo Rota have designed a museum dedicated to carbon fiber, which will be made partly of materials.
Created for carbon fiber manufacturers A LOT, the museum will present objects from the 53-year history of the company that show how ultra strong and light materials are used, among other things, in the automotive, bicycle and fashion industries.
According to Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA), the MAE Museum will be the world’s largest archive of acrylic fiber technologies.
It will be housed in a renovated warehouse in Piacenza, Italy, next to the new MAE pilot plant, and the interior will be made mostly of carbon fiber, including some parts made from recycled fibers.
The carbon fiber elements will include a front door that “opens like a curtain,” while another feature of the museum will be its extensive use of robots in the exhibition experience.
His first room will be a robotic archive warehouse, where mechanical hands move along walls to retrieve historical photographs and documents and place them on a raised platform for viewers to view.
Elsewhere in the museum, visitors will be able to observe the process through which acrylic fibers are converted to carbon fibers and see objects that demonstrate its contemporary use.
In a black room filled with immersed installations, they will be able to communicate with the latest prototypes and objects that use the material experimentally.
CRA founder Carlo Ratti said the MAE museum project is an opportunity to explore the ecological potential of the material through actions such as the use of recycled fibers.
“From high-performance bicycles to Lamborghini Aventador cars, carbon fiber drives innovation in multiple sectors,” Ratti said.
“The MAE Museum celebrates the crucial material of modernity, focusing on its new circular boundary and anticipating new applications for its use.”
Currently, carbon fiber is produced with fossil fuels by a highly polluting process. However, its strength and lightness have made it the standard for airplanes, and it is sometimes used in cars, bicycles and tennis rackets.
Bio-based and recycled carbon fibers are now being explored, but they have their limitations.
MAE first produced synthetic clothing fibers, which became popular after World War II in Europe, before switching to carbon fiber.
The connection with clothing remains – similar synthetic fibers go through complex chemical processes to convert them into carbon fibers.
RAK designed the museum with Roth, which specializes in museums and exhibitions, and previously designed the Art and Food exhibition at the Triennale in Milan.
Rota and RAK have recently made a number of collaborations, including the creation of an intensive care unit for transport containers for the Turin Hospital and the MEET Center for Digital Culture in Milan.
Rendering by CRA.