Materials as “happy accidents” – SCIN’s new exhibition at CDW – Post-it®notes

by Eve Hollands on

Since prehistoric times, man has evolved and defined itself by the use of materials: the stone age, the bronze age, the iron age…Our attempts to transform and recreate materials found in the natural world have shaped civilisation and society. And many of these successful outcomes are due to Serendipity.


The SCIN exhibition at The Serendipity Studio will be a walk through history, presenting materials that have come to fruition as a “happy accident” and how they have evolved and transformed the world of Design.


This week we will be posting on some of these amazing materials and presenting some of the artists that will have their work in our exhibition. Be ready to be wowed!!


Here’s our fourth material:


Post it!

Post-it® Notes on glass, 3 colors, 4001 Post-it® Notes, 3,20 m x 5,50 m – Credit: Andreas Kopp

Spencer Silver was working in the 3M research laboratories in 1970 trying to find a strong adhesive. Several of his tests only produced an adhesive that was weaker that what already existed. It stuck to objects, but could easily be lifted off. It seemed useless but Silver kept it. Four years later, on a Sunday, another 3M scientist called Arthur Fry was singing in the church’s choir, and the marker in his hymnal kept falling out. Remembering Silver’s adhesive, Fry tested some of it on his markers, with great success! The markers stayed in place, but it was easy to move them and take them out without damaging the surface. It took 10 years for 3M to begin distributing Post-it® Notes in 1980. Today they are one of the most popular office products available. The patent for the glue that 3M uses on Post-It notes expired in 2001, so many other companies now make similar sticky notes


Post-it®notes are mostly used to leave messages, to bookmark a page or even for a brainstorm session, but we have discovered an exciting and creative use to them as well!  Post-it® art installations are becoming some what of a trend, used to liven up offices or to dress a window display. And we have managed to get our hands on a piece from Andreas Kopp, a German Post-it® artist for our Serendipity exhibition at Goldsmiths’ centre.

Andreas is well known for a Steve Job portrait made out of 4001Post-it® notes, in the Apple store in Munich. He is often commissioned to create his pieces live during events and festivals. Once he started working with this material, he fell in love with Post-it® notes and all things pixelated. He wants his work to bring an explosion of colour and creativity to the world and we are lucky enough to have some of it in our show! On display we we will have a portrait of Werner Heisenberg.

Have a look at Andreas at work:

4001 post-its for Steve Jobs