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focus briefing

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From this month, architects and designers can enjoy online access to information on the technical and physical properties of thousands of materials free of charge. The brainchild of Dutch company Materia, an independent consultant with a background in architecture and research, the Material Explorer website advises on material selection based on colour, structure, texture, temperature, gloss, holographic qualities, thermostatic and photovoltaic abilities, softness, elasticity, magnetism, and even scent.

Visit www. materia. nl to find out more.

A new book, Herman Miller: Classic Furniture and System Designs for the Working Environment, provides an interesting look at the company's global influence on modern furniture design for the workplace. A defi nitive history of Herman Miller's work - from its founding by D J Dee Pree in 1936 to the international success of 2003's Mirra chair, the beautifully illustrated work also includes the iconic designs of Charles and Ray Eames, Gilbert Rohde and Isamu Noguchi. Written by John R Berry, it is available from Thames & Hudson, priced £36.

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