Hidden Carbon

This project is a manifesto initiated by the EPFL+ECAL Lab to go beyond the high tech look of carbon so as to explore its full potential.

Two major design schools, ECAL/University of art and design Lausanne in Switzerland, and Ensci-Les Ateliers in Paris, have risen to the challenge. Carbon fibre composites are gradually entering our daily life thanks to their exceptional mechanical properties – incredibly tough but extremely lightweight. Used in numerous high-end sports applications, this material has become a high tech icon – to such an extent that one often forgets its main advantage: to make uniquely light shapes and uses possible, with astonishing thermal, sound or electrical performances.

The objective of the Hidden Carbon project is to rediscover the relevance of carbon fibre by investigating original object typologies and uses based on its special mechanical properties. Under the leadership of Jean-François Dingjian for ENSCI-Les Ateliers and Alexis Georgacopoulos for ECAL, the EPFL+ECAL Lab brought together thirty students on this project, in cooperation with world-leading carbon experts – the Décision shipyard and the Laboratory of Polymer and Composite Technology of the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).

Hidden Carbon displays seven projects to illustrate this investigation where carbon goes beyond its usual dark look to turn into blown glass, sound and light.