ATTENTION: This conference will not take place in 2016!
Thanks for your support — we'll be back in 2017 ...

A conference exploring the concept of the Web as a material

Reykjavík, Iceland

Material 2016 Kickstarter video

20+ years of the Web and we are still at the very beginning of understanding and implementing digitization.

For the first time we are facing a generation that never got to know the offline world. By nature they are riding the wave without ever having touched the ground.

Like we might have unlearned our ancestors' knowledge about materials and crafts, it's easy to overlook the intrinsic characteristics of the Web in favour of the newest framework or boilerplate.

Let's re-explore the material Web and evaluate what we have learned so far. Join us to Iceland for a trip through history, views and cultures.

The Internet and the Web are still very new to us. We don't fully understand them as a material. For centuries we've worked with wood, metal, glass, ceramic, paper, textiles. More recently, new materials have emerged; plastics, fiberglass, silicon, and more. We understand their limitations, their affordances. We can fold, heat, manipulate and warp some of these materials.

What does this mean for the Web? What are the properties of the Web as a Material?

We have lost the Apprentice/Master relationship in the digital world. Spending years getting our hands dirty with an expert, learning slowly and really understanding the material rather than the framework. We need to be asking ourselves what sacrifices should we be making for the convinience of our customers rather than shortcuts for ourselves.

What properties of materialness exists in the Web is what this conference is meant to explore.


Portrait of Petro Salema
Petro Salema

Our first confirmed speaker is Petro Salema. He is a designer and programmer whose driving mission is to use technology and design to build tools that enable people to do great things in new and inspiring ways. Most recently, he has been doing that by leading the development of the Aloha Editor project. Based in Vienna, Austria, originally from Tanzania, he will be enlightening us on all things in his life dealing with the Web as a Material. We're excited to hear what he comes up with!

Portrait of Matt Jones
Matt Jones

Our second confirmed speaker is Matt Jones. Former BERG Principle, now working at Google NYC on various top secret things. He'll be giving us a short presentation and then curating a slot looking at some of the ideas around raw computing. If the Web were a material, he'd brute force his way to the best answer, maybe without even understanding how he got there — and that's OK.

Portrait of Molly E. Holzschlag
Molly E. Holzschlag

It's a little sensation that Molly E. Holzschlag confirmed to be our third speaker. She needs no introduction. She's been working with the web for longer than many people have been alive. We are honoured that she will take Material as opportunity, after her long absense, to return to the stage and talk about what she refers to as "organic Web" where the first thing to do is get off the computer and go out into the sensory world of doing and making — "material" as we put it.

Portrait of Goddur

Our fourth speaker, Goddur, works as a graphic design professor at the Icelandic Academy of the Arts in Reykjavík and is without a doubt Iceland’s best-known commentator on design issues. He teaches mostly theory courses and will be discussing the history of technology and design with examples of perspective tesselations and other patterns. He's been working in design since before the first Macintosh computers and has grown and learned with the technology. Now he has a few choice words to say about artificial intelligence, virtual reality and superficial design using computers — this should be interesting discussion to say the least.

Portrait of Dan Rubin
Dan Rubin

We already mentioned Dan Rubin in our Kickstarter video and some of you were asking, so here we go. Many will know Dan as designer, photographer and "Instagram Guru" famous for his stunning travel photography and more. As former creative director at MOO he's based in London but spends a couple of weeks in Iceland each year, so we consider him a "semi-local". Dan will not just be a regular speaker but support us on stage as host and MC and will most like be up for one of his famous photowalks. You shouldn't miss that!

We'll bring a mix of 6-7 people internationally and Icelandic locals. A few invitations have gone out and we are slowly collecting who's available when, so stay tuned for updates!

Iðnó at the pond
The theatre building Iðnó right at the pond

Venue: Iðnó

For July 22nd, we decided to use Iðnó, short for Iðnaðarmannahúsið. Built in 1896, located in the center of Reykjavík, it is easy to access from various hotels and guesthouses. More importantly, near plenty of great food and shops.

Rather than use a full-service hotel or conference center, we are trying a smaller, cozier and definitely more memorable location.

Field Trip

As something extra, we want to try and organize a small field trip around town meeting with companies who deal with different materials. For example, a Ceramic studio workshop, Leather craft, Letterpress, Aluminium casting, etc. These are TBD both when, where and what.


As of March 9th, tickets were available via a Kickstarter campaign that was running for 30 days. The regular tickets cost $150 and were limited to 145. There were also rewards for people who can't attend in person and still want to be part of our little adventure. The Kickstarter didn't succeed, so Material will not happen in 2016.

This is the phase that will decide whether Material 2016 can become reality, so we really need your support now. Please back us with any amount you can, every little bit helps. Also, we'd be very happy if you could help us spreading the word!

Sitting around the fire
Join us for some stimulating conversation

Travel and accomodation

It's a little bit too early to think about travel stuff until the Kickstarter succeeds, but we started putting together a Foursquare list with lots of recommendations in downtown Reykjavík, including lodging opportunities. There are also plenty of nice AirBnbs around town, so please check them out as well. We plan to open up some sort of communication platform soon where you can discuss travel and accommodation sharing possibilities with other attendees. Stay tuned!

We know that travelling to Iceland for a conference might sound like an adventure — and it is! — so please bear with us while we try to get some special deals for you.

Keep In Touch

Sign-up for our newsletter so we can let you know when tickets will be available. This helps us gauge our numbers to find the right cozy venue to meet the demand.

Also, let your friends know that you like what we're doing by tracking Material on Lanyrd.