The Oslo School of Architecture and Design | Master thesis | Autumn 2023| By; Elida Høvik and Luca Verde
Living Surface is a critical material exploration, questioning the synthetic surface. The outcome is a handbook, a vocabulary, a video, and an artifact that together showcases an alternative now
Learning about paint pollution at the beginning of our master thesis, triggered an engagement. According to recent research, paint accounts for 58% of all the microplastic in the ocean every year. Additionally, The European Union Action Against Microplastics Report published this autumn, confirmed that paint and coatings account for the largest microplastic pollution worldwide. Synthetic surfaces started to reveal themselves, covering the materials around us. 
Although we have come far with demands for materials with recycled or bio-based content, there is a lack of similar demands for surfaces. By looking at the surface as its own material, we began thinking of ways design could raise awareness on this matter. Leading to our thesis question;
– how might we reveal hidden processes to challenge the contemporary aesthetic of the surfaces that surround us?
By using comparison as a tool we are suggesting a shift from synthetic to living surfaces—encouraging an altered perception of how a surface should look and behave.
We created a vocabulary of contrasts to understand the framework of change that we were aiming for. A tool to compare and discuss the shift from the synthetic surface to the living. Formed as flip cards making hidden processes visible, with descriptions of both production methods and aesthetic expressions.
The handbook is created as a guide alongside our material explorations. It is a source for people wanting to learn and experiment with natural pigments and binders themselves. A tool that can be built upon and continue the discussion.
The artifact is a physical object bringing the ‘alternative now’ into materiality, showcasing our material exploration. The artifact facilitates comparison through several changeable parts. These are placed on a structure that impersonates the living surface.
The project is documented through a report, read the report here
The project was also exhibited at the Diploma Exhibition at AHO 

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