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IT+Textiles experiments with the design possibilities as computation and textiles converge in new forms. As technology is increasingly integrated in everyday life, research attention has tended to focus on the new technical functions. Design materials, such as textiles, are often seen as ways to decorate or ‘soften’ high-tech. And, while textiles are ubiquitous in everyday life and one of our oldest design traditions, technology is often only incorporated superficially. The IT+Textiles design research program was guided by the theme ‘technology as design material’, which oriented practice-based research into the complex interplay between temporal and spatial gestalt made possible as information technology and textiles converge. Through a series of design experiments, we explored the substantially new forms that might be possible as well as developing interdisciplinary design practices.

Participants and collaborators in IT+Textiles brought a diverse range of interests, competences, and knowledge. Partners ranged from IT consultancies and textile manufacturers to major furnishing and automotive companies. Desired outcomes ranged from new products to scientific publications, from artistic exhibitions to new educational curricula. Rather than aiming at a single, narrow objective, which is too often the aim of interdisciplinary projects, IT+Textiles was set up as an open meeting-place for collaboration. As applied to project work, this entailed two types of structures: smaller projects done by one to three people that were open-ended and experimental, typically focused studies of some material, situation or method, and; larger projects typically involving more than five people in developing a prototype or a concept based on combinations of findings from the smaller ones. The research studio was set up to accommodate a variety of prototyping practices in which participants from different disciplines could communicate and collaborate physically.

Images (above)
(1) Interactive Pillows in use, (2) still from a video of Tic Tac Textiles for the Textil Evolution exhibition, and (3) studio set-up for collaborative prototyping. Photo credits by project teams as listed on the website (link below).

My role
I was director of the Interactive Institute research studio and acting project manager during the last two years of IT+Textiles, entailing responsibility for personnel, teams and collaboration, the studio space and overall budget. I was active as a researcher within the Tic-Tac-Textiles and Energy Curtain projects within IT+Textiles, and I supervised student theses. I was instrumental in producing the IT+Textiles book, for which I was an editor and author. I supported the development of new initiatives around the project. For example, ToyLabs ITR AB was a a spin-off company from the IT University course in which I taught as well as the Interactive Institute projects Smart-Its and IT+Textiles. Together with another Interactive Institute studio, I initiated research funded by the Swedish Energy Agency (which became the Static! project), for which the IT+Textiles Energy Curtain was a pilot.

IT+Textiles was primarily funded by VINNOVA, the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems, in 2001-2005. It was led by the Interactive Institute and Newmad Technologies in collaboration with partners in academia and industry. Project lead: Johan Redström; Project team: Anders Ernevi, Daniel Eriksson, Lars Hallnäs, Hanna Landin, Ulrika Löfgren, Henrik Jernström, Margot Jacobs, Peter Ljungstrand, Ramia Mazé, Tobias Rydenhag, Johan Thoresson, Erik Wistrand, Linda Worbin, and Maria Åresund; Collaborators at Chalmers University of Technology: Lars Hallnäs and Hanna Landin; Collaborators at the Swedish School of Textiles: Lars Hallnäs, Carolin Müller, Linda Worbin, and Margareta Zetterblom; Collaborators at Newmad Technologies: Patricija Jaksetic, Maria Redström, and Erik Wistrand.

More about the project
IT+Textiles website

See also

/ Projects / Static!

/ Projects / Public Play Spaces

/ Publications / Bergström, J., Clark, B., Frigo, A., Mazé, R., Redström, J., and Vallgårda, A. (2010) ‘Becoming Materials’.

/ Publications / Redström, J., Redström, M., and Mazé, R. (eds) (2010 [2005]) IT+Textiles.

/ Publications / Mazé, R. (2010) ‘RE: Thinking Sustainability’, in D. Keyson and S. Jin (eds), Designing for Sustainable Living & Working.

/ Publications / Mazé, R. (ed), Öhman, C., Backlund, S., Redström, J., Mazé, R., Ilstedt Hjelm, S., and Routarinne, S. (2010) Static! Designing for Energy Awareness.

/ Publications / Mazé, R., and Redström, J. (2009) ‘Difficult Forms’.

/ Publications / Mazé, R. (2007) Occupying Time.

/ Publications / Mazé, R., and Redström, J. (2007) ‘Difficult Forms’.

/ Publications / Mazé, R. (2005) ‘Joining Tradition and Innovation in Design Research Projects’.

/ Publications / Mazé, R., and Redström, J. (2005) ‘Form and the Computational Object’.

/ Publications / Mazé, R., and Redström, J. (2004) ‘Form and the Computational Object’.