Stuff Matters

Stuff Matters definitely tops the list of books I found most interesting in a geeky way. It was such a great loot from Sydney’s Art Gallery of New South Wales when I travelled last May 2016. I was choosing between Stuff Matters and another book about how to understand art better. I am glad I chose this book.

How can ordinary things be written in such an interesting way? It was gripping on a certain level that made me read with much enthusiasm until the end of the book. I even wrote down notes! I love how he was able to relate each material he has chosen to tackle to history and to a certain part or moment in his life. This depiction makes his illustration of materials relatable which allows us to appreciate objects that we find ordinary to remarkable.

I will share a couple of things I found fascinating but I will have you read the rest of the book for yourself.

  • Concrete – It was by chance when the combination of steel and concrete was discovered as a very good structural component. It is amazing how both components have the same coefficient of expansion that makes them compatible when temperature changes. Today, there are further studies to fill gaps that naturally occur over time in concrete through the use of microbes that get activated by certain triggers like temperature and moisture. Concrete can also withstand pressing versus stretching this is why dams are designed to be curved against the water.
  • Chocolate – The immense satisfaction from eating chocolate is partly from the richness it brings the moment the solid becomes liquid when it touches the tongue. This is also one reason why hot chocolate is best consumed right after brewing.

Reference: Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik

© 2016 Dolce Vita. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. (


About Mariel Tan

Artist at heart who shares the spice in her life. Visit my blogs:


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