A bird eye view of any folded protein shows a complex surface composed of hydrophobic and hydrophilic patches closely packed. To date little is known on the fundamental properties that such packing determines. In this talk I will present my group's endeavor into the synthesis, characterization, and understanding of a family of nanomaterials (mixed monolayer protected nanoparticles) that posses a surface coexistence of patches of opposite hydrophilicity resembling that present on folded protein. I will show that these materials are ideal model compound to uncover the basic properties that such coexistence determines at the solid liquid interface, and will conclude with example of application of these nanoparticles when used as mimic of biological entities (e.g. as cell penetrating peptides, as nano-enzymes, etc.).