U-JOINTS – Adhesives and Fusions 
GEWERBEMUSEUM Winterthur, 7 March 2021 - 9 January 2022

Adhesives are, perhaps, the most common joints used on a daily basis.
Something breaks, and we reach for a strip of tape or drop of glue to fix it. We have grown up with some of these sticky materials: the Pritt stick, UHU or Vinavil tubes are all used by children, who masterfully put it to use creating collages and paper planes. We watched ACME cartoons, in which Coyote smeared Ajax Stick-All Glue on the road to stop Road Runner. Super glue, Attak and Elmer’s glue-all help to reattach the handle to its cup or a sole to its shoe. Scotch tape and Band-aids are go-to brands, when an envelope or a skin abrasion needs sealing. Post-it’s are yellow reminders attached to doors and computer screens. Adhesive brands have become generic, household names that are simply a part of our lives.

Largely invisible and often present only as a thin sheen of material, adhesives are easily overlooked, but nonetheless ubiquitous. An indispensable element in our largely man-made world, glues made plywood possible and are key to today’s electronics, keeping our washing machines working and our cars from falling apart. They can be found in almost every man-made object, ranging
from everyday tools to great works of architecture, to our own human bodies.

Whether used internally by doctors and surgeons, digested along with our food, or applied externally – for beauty, using cosmetic products, or in the form of performance-enhancing substances for sports – glue is part of our very beings.

The second chapter and half of the exhibition is dedicated to welded and fused joints. These joints are created using a variety of welding processes, as well as through additive manufacturing. Starting from traditional forged iron and progressing to the latest in laser welding techniques, we examine the ways in which two or more parts can be melted and united together: whether they use heat, ultrasound, light, magnetic pulses, friction or electricity.

Diving into these welding techniques, it soon becomes clear that a shopping
cart, a garden fence and an iconic chair design all employ similar joining techniques. But balloons, pool floats, life vests, kids’ toys and the vast
majority of disposable medical supplies also exist only thanks to different
welding techniques.

Finally, we consider additive manufacturing. This refers to technologies that grow three dimensional objects, one layer at a time. Each successive layer bonds to the preceding layer of melted or partially-melted material. As a result, the material bonds with itself – without the need for an additional element. The material itself forms the complete product. The final printed object is free of any joint – or, paradoxically, you could say that a 3D printed object is in fact all joint. On display is a selection of research projects concentrated around some of the latest additive manufacturing processes, which have the potential to lead to the invention of new joining techniques. The U-Joints publication features an open conversation between experts working at the frontier of reinventing the ways we make and join things, discussing where future joints might be found.

Featured joint projects by Alvar Aalto/Artek, AATB, Massimiliano Adami, Benjamin Bichsel/ECAL, Maddalena Casadei/Fucina, Tom Dixon/Cappellini, Ray and Charles Eames/Evans Products Co., Emeco USA, Gramazio Kohler Research Group ETH, Marie Griesmar, Christophe Guberan with Carlo Clopath and Self-Assembly Lab MIT and Rapid Liquid Print Co., Hess Medizin Technik AG, Floris Hovers/Magis, Hella Jongerius, Ville Kokkonen/Stora Enso, Ryuichi Kozeki/Nittax Corporation, Janne Kytt nen/Freedom of Creation, Golan Levin and Shawn Sims/F.A.T. Lab, Mammut Sports Group AG, Jonathan Muecke, Gaetano Pesce/CorsiDesign, Raw-Edges, Adrien Rovero, Sarna Plastec AG, Jerszy Seymour, Studio Lomazzi, D’Urbino and De Pas/Zanotta, Studio Wieki Somers, Marcel Wanders/Cappellini, Lukas Wegwerth, Zaven, Oscar Zieta Industrial joints by Arthrex, Azknobel, Bolton Swiss S.A., Danzer Holding AG, Instituto Italiano della Saldatura,Kerrdental, Kremer Pigmente GmbH & Co., Mascherpa Spa, Revello, tesa tape Schweiz AG, Vaber Industriale Spa.

© Marco Casino 
© Piercarlo Quecchia DSL studio