Taking its bearings from the interfaces between “Design & Sustainability”, “Design & Technology”, “Design & Materiality” and “Design & History”, the research group focuses on the development of visionary concepts, on the design and implementation of trail-blazing technologies, products and processes, as well as on the restitution of archives and corporate histories. The basis for this work is provided by textile know-how and competencies in the fields of design and the environmental natural, engineering and historical sciences, which bring to light innovative results that are relevant to practice and teaching. The group’s research partners are institutions and firms along the textile and non-textile value creation chain from the clothing and fashion industries and the production of technical textiles to wood processing, electronics and construction. Ten years of experience in application-oriented research enables the group to successfully submit projects to funding institutions and to professionally manage the projects with different kinds of partners and their individual interests.
Design & Sustainability: Materials, processes and products can be observed and evaluated from the design perspective with the aim of closing material cycles, optimising the use of resources and extending the life-cycle of products, with the help of methods such as life-cycle assessment, stakeholder analysis, process analysis and qualitative interviews.
Design & Technology: On the basis of design visions and systematic experimental investigations, interdisciplinary project teams develop concepts for innovative processes and products which are transposed into contemporary application scenarios and put to use as prototypes. The employment of hands-on experiments, various prototyping procedures and analytical models such as the morphological box yields concrete results.
Design & Materiality: Detailed transdisciplinary research on the character and properties of materials in theory and practice serves to develop new kinds of methods for processing and finishing. This leads to high-quality materiality, a conscious approach to resources and many-layered effects. The results from specifically conducted experiments are analysed on the basis of their functional and aesthetic qualities and optimised with prototyping procedures.
Design & History: With the exploitation of selected historical textile collections, the research group has developed competencies for the recording of textile objects and has established a database with a wealth of textile design creation. The group’s experience in the analysis of material culture is complemented by the exploration of complex cultural, economic and technical interrelations of historical design production.
As permanent members of Swiss Texnet (the network of Swiss textile research institutions and universities and the Swiss Textile Federation), of ETP (European Technology Platform), of NETFAS and netzwerk mode textil, and with an extensive industrial network, the Product & Textiles research group has successfully helped to shape the national and international research landscape for more than ten years.