Thursday, January 28

13:00 – 13:20

At Material Xperience 2016, this keynote lecture will be a special event. Following Thomas Rau’s lecture, the BIG MATERIA DEBATE will take place. Here, Rau’s Universal Declaration of Material Rights will be discussed with specialists and the audience.

Thomas Rau studied fine arts and dance at the Alanus University of Arts in Bonn and architecture at RWTH Aachen University. In 1990 he moved to Amsterdam, where he worked for several architectural firms. Two years later he founded RAU, an architectural firm that makes maximum use of environmentally friendly materials. Re-use of materials and resources is central to the philosophy of RAU Architects. In 2008 Thomas Rau was certified as a ‘cradle-to-cradle’ architect and in 2010, he founded Turntoo. Thomas Rau recently introduced the ‘Universal Declaration on the Rights of the Material’, which ensures that nothing is lost of the resources we have. Rau compares the earth to a space station in the sense that it is a closed system: “What is not there, is not there and we cannot get it there. So what is there, we must ensure is not lost.” Thomas Rau has also developed the idea a revenue model whereby sustainability does not feel like an obligation, but is rather a lucrative concept for businesses.

According to Rau, change can only really take place when producers are responsible for the consequences of their actions. He therefore advocates a system in which we no longer possess products, but rather use them only as a service. You no longer buy a light bulb, but rent your light. The manufacturer remains responsible at all times for the raw materials used. As a result, they will be motivated to provide a product as sustainable as possible, simply because it is to their own benefit.