Materials as “happy accidents” – SCIN’s new exhibition at CDW – Hook and Loop

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 first one:


Hooking and a Looping

The Hook and Loop fastener was invented in 1941 by George de Mestral, a Swiss engineer. When he took his dog out for a walk in the Alps, he noticed the burrs, which kept sticking to his clothes and his dog’s fur. He felt that there was something interesting in this and he began to think of ways to apply this to everyday uses. He studied the burrs with a microscope and began to develop a unique fastener that imitated the burrs’ microscopic hooks. By trial and error, he realised that nylon when sewn under infrared light formed tiny but tough hooks, which easily attached themselves to softer, velvety nylon fabric. He named his invention Velcro after the French words velours (meaning velvet) and crochet (hook). De Mestral originally envisioned the hook and loop as a fastener for clothing. Today it is being utilized across a wide range of industries, from healthcare to the military, to design and outer space. The same technique that kids use to fasten their shoes, is used by NASA to hold tools down in zero gravity.


But have you ever seen it used to create stunning sculpture-like installations and products?? This is exactly what Rachel O’Neill has done, and you will have the chance to see some of her unique pieces on show at The Goldsmiths Centre during Clerkenwell Design Week.

Northern Irish artist and designer Rachel O’Neill works at the interface between art and design using a variety of tactile materials to create these wonderfully playful one-off installations and limited edition pieces. Taking much of her inspiration from the magnificent sea and landscapes of her native Ireland, Rachel O’Neill’s objects have a fluid, often amorphous visual quality redefining their purpose and shapes whether they are used as decorative lighting, wall and floor coverings, body adornment or children’s toys.

Rachel current collection of pieces involves various processes such as steaming and boiling the Velcro producing vibrant colours and sparkling metallic finishes.

Rachel travels the world creating and producing work for a international clients from New York to Dublin creating installations for Peugeot’s Flagship showrooms Paris and Berlin, Velcro Ltd UK and pieces for New York’s luxury 5th Avenue Store, Bergdorf Goodman. So its an absolute honour to have her in our exhibition! Its your chance to come and have a look.


More about her work here:







Serendpity Studio will be hosted at The Goldsmiths’ Centre during Clerkenwell Design Week

Date: 23rd to 25th of May

Opening hours: 10 am to 5 pm (free entry)