Building materials that help the healing process

1 April, 2020

How did Friendly Materials start? What have you learnt from growing it?

Friendly Materials started as a research project developed by PMMT Arquitectura, a practice based in Barcelona, specialising in healthcare architecture.

The company has its own R&D department which has generated more than ten research projects across three continents. Every one starts with a question which is how do we build a better world?  Friendly Materials came about as result of then asking if architecture can help a patient’s healing process.

After three years of research, Friendly Materials has become a healthy materials guide and a trademark. The most valuable lesson was to lose the fear of sharing our knowledge on an open-source website for free. To begin with, we were demanding transparency from the building materials industry while saving the knowledge for ourselves. Acknowledging this contradiction was a turning point for PMMT. We turned our focus to becoming a consultancy service for building owners and other architects using our online healthy materials guide.

How important was the website in communicating what Friendly Materials does?

The website is the visible face of Friendly Materials and the basis of what it represents, a consultancy service to build and design a truly healthy building. To do this, it is fundamental to understand building materials from a technical perspective: do they emit some kind of volatile organic compound (VOC)? How do they react to bacteria? Do they release any toxic substances in the case of a fire? From our standpoint, it is also fundamental to communicate this kind of information in an understandable and easy to read way. That’s how the scoring system was born, together with the will to share it with our peers.

We’ve made an effort to share technical (and sometimes very boring!) knowledge in a friendly a positive way. Even though we share an “alert list” with toxic chemicals to avoid, the goal is to promote the healthiest building materials.

How else do you communicate what PMMT is all about? 

PMMT’s website is a good reflection of what we are and how we work. Even though architecture is our main activity, we divide it with consultancy, innovation and product design. We are permanently innovating in our day to day activity and always have a lot to tell. We are also present on social media: Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook. Currently we are developing a strategy to improve our communicating skills on Instagram.

If you want to know us from the inside, check this video

Archiboo was talking to Rita Barata of PMMT that won the Best Consultants category in the 2019 Archiboo Awards.