An important research area of the Competence Centre Products & Textiles is the historical assessment and documentation of the Zurich silk industry.
The corporate archives of the Zurich silk industry, which are examined in the research project
Silk History since 1800, contain a large number of visual sources. They range from advertisements, technical drawings and architectural plans to impressive representations of factories in Switzerland and abroad. The archives also contain images documenting the production of raw silk and silk textiles as well as work and leisure in the world of the modern factory. In order to decipher the material artefacts within these archives – especially the somewhat opaque pattern books –, all visual information pertaining to the design process is of special interest, i.e. design drawings, pattern books, mood boards and seasonal collection books.
In the course of the Silk Images project a representative part of this material is being selected, digitalized and catalogued in an image database. It will be put online together with the design database Silk Memory. The Silk Images database provides worldwide access to the vast visual landscape of the Zurich silk industry for professional researchers and the general public interested in the history of modern silks.