The Products & Textiles research group at the Lucerne School of Art and Design focuses on the Zurich silk industry. While the research project Silk History since 1800 is looking at the internationally networked history of the Zurich silk industry and will publish its results in an academic book, the Silk Memory project is dedicated to the study and communication of material textile culture. Its primary sources are the company archives of the Zurich silk industry, which are being transferred to public archival institutions and made publicly available as part of a Zurich Lottery Fond project.
The objective of the Silk Memory project is to establish a physical archive of textiles and to create a textile database in order to provide access to two hundred years of silk design in Zurich, from Abraham to Weisbrod-Zürrer. In close collaboration with partners in the museum sector, teachers of textile design, and practicing textile designers, a representative selection of fabrics from the textile archives of the Zurich silk industry is being recorded and tagged and made available online for teaching, research, and as a source of inspiration for contemporary designers.
The Silk Memory project, which is funded by the Lottery Fond of the Canton of Zurich, the Zurich Silk Association (Zürcherische Seidenindustrie Gesellschaft, ZSIG), and Lucerne University, wants to study this legacy of textiles, make it accessible to a broad public, and derive new value from it. Its specific objectives are as follows:
- to create a textile archive for the Lucerne School of Art and Design with a representative selection of textiles for teaching, research, and as source of inspiration for contemporary design
- to select and categorize textiles using a predefined grid of criteria
- to produce a record of textile artefacts to museum standards using digital software
- to develop a user interface for the web portal to facilitate inspiration and research
In conjunction with Zurich design studio Astrom/Zimmer, the Products & Textiles research group has developed a user interface for the online presence of the archive. The Silk Memory Web Portal features various filters and research tools and, together with selected visual sources from the Silk Images database, brings new value and new uses to textile artefacts.