What has fungi got to do with architecture? Or what if we could digitally change the colours or patterns of our clothes, instead of buying new ones? The ArcInTexETN project, funded by the EU, has reached its halfway stage and the PhD students are in the midst of processing their research questions.
ArcInTexETN is a project funded by the EU and it aims to strengthen the foundations of design for more sustainable forms of living by connecting architecture, interaction, design and textiles. By the end of 2016 the ArcInTexETN will be midway through the project. Representatives from the European Commission visited Borås in November for a midterm meeting and they are content with the progress. Research results are starting to evolve.
"In this project, we can perceive the future," says Mervi Himanen, Expert Evaluator from the EU who has a solid academic background in both textiles and architecture as well as engineering and computer science.
3D printed shoes, fungi design and new methods of changing clothes
There are 15 young PhD students from all over the world enrolled in the ArcInTexETN project. Their backgrounds are from the fields of architecture, textiles, fashion or interaction design.
Angella Mackey from Canada has her placement at Philips Research Eindhoven in the Netherlands. She has spent the last eight months wearing green clothes. Every day. The reason why, is her research. She is investigating what would happen if we were able to digitally change the colours or patterns of our clothes, instead of buying new ones. "I use my green clothes as a "green screen" and then through a chroma-key smartphone application I alter the colours and the patterns on my clothes," explains Angella Mackey. "Then I post the photos on my Instagram in order to investigate my research."
Another PhD student in the project is Bastian Beyer, an architect from Germany. His placement is at the Royal College of Art in London and in his research he is exploring technologies to incorporate living organisms into architectural design processes. He is investigating how synthetic biology, which is located at the cross-section of binary coding (numerical code) and synthetic coding (DNA code), can lead to innovative material developments and design strategies. "I'm studying, for example, the growth and behaviour of active fungi and the mycelium structure this generates, in order to find ways to (co-)design with living organisms," Bastian Beyer explains.
American-born ArcInTexETN research fellow Troy Nachtigall comes from Italy and his placement is at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. His research involves the ideas of how clothing and accessories do not only fit the body on the physical level, but also with respect to movement and in the society. He has developed a technique to create shoe soles through 3D printing which thus produces ultra-personalised footwear for everyone. "Together with fellow researchers from the Wearable Senses Lab of the Industrial Design Department at Eindhoven University of Technology, I have 3D printed an entire outfit for Jet Bussemaker, who is the Minister of Culture, Education and Science in the Netherlands," says Troy Nachtigall and he continues: "I believe that the future of fashion is dynamic and adaptive, both in the way it is made, as well as in the way clothing acts on the human body."
Forming a highly trained avant-garde in artistic research
The research is cross disciplinary since the PhD students collaborate in three research groups -- the scale of the building, the scale of the interior and the scale of the body -- and each group consists of persons with different backgrounds. This means that they are working both on their individual theses as well as collaborating within their research groups. The ArcInTexETN is also cross disciplinary in the sense that it is a European Training Network, which means that it is a network with great mobility -- the PhD students travel around the world in order to both educate themselves and to contribute to others with their knowledge.
"We are pioneers in our field of research since we are developing a new model of nomadic PhD training," says Lars Hallnäs, Project Coordinator and Professor at the Swedish School of Textiles, and he continues: "We form a highly trained avant-garde in artistic research."
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