Material Libraries

Institute of Making

The Institute of Making is a multidisciplinary research club for those interested in the made world: from makers of molecules to makers of buildings, synthetic skin to spacecraft, soup to diamonds, socks to cities. Annual membership of the institute is available to all UCL staff and students.

Our programme of symposia, masterclasses and public events explores the links between academic research and hands-on experience, and celebrates the sheer joy of stuff.
Its mission is to provide all makers with a creative home in which to innovate, contemplate and understand all aspects of materials and an inspiring place to explore their relationship to making.

At the heart of the Institute of Making is the Materials Library – a growing repository of some of the most extraordinary materials on earth, gathered together for their ability to fire the imagination and advance conceptualisation. A place in which makers from all disciplines can see, touch, research and discuss, so that they can apply the knowledge and experience gained to their own practice.

Alongside the collection is the MakeSpace – a workshop where members and guests can make, break, design and combine both advanced and traditional tools, techniques and materials.

The Materials Library is a collection of some of the most wondrous materials on earth, gathered from sheds, labs, grottoes and repositories around the world. It is a resource, laboratory, studio, and playground for the curious and material-minded to conduct hands-on research through truly interdisciplinary inquiry and innovation.

The Materials Library was established in 2005 by a team of passionate material addicts Martin Conreen, Zoe Laughlin, and Mark Miodownik; the archive of the project can be found at In 2011, the collection became the central resource of the Institute of Making and in 2012, the project moved from King’s College London to a specially designed new space at University College London (UCL).

In its new home, the Materials Library is growing and developing, remaining at the heart of the Institute of Making alongside the MakeSpace workshop, enabling users to experience at first hand the relationships between materials and tools that constitute processes of making.

To visit the Library, come to one of our monthly open days where you can ask questions, handle materials and learn more. Sign up to the newsletter to hear all about our public events. If you have a specific request, contact us.



Ferro fluid

ferro fluid

Zoe Lughlin: TED Talk & Telegraph article

Material ConneXion

connexion_mcny03 connexion_mcny04

Inventables (Chicago based)



Art Institutions (CAA, RISD, etc)

Material Resource Center (RISD) (article on Core77)





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s