Architecture meets textiles in new thesis

What happens when fabrics meet architecture and digital design technology? This was the main question for doctoral student Delia Dumitrescu when she applied to the Swedish School of Textiles at the University of Borås. On the 18th of December, she defended her thesis “Relational textiles: Surface expressions in space design”.
Photographer: Jerker Andersson

Among other things, Delia Dumitrescu has explored how light, heat and movement can function as variables in the design process. In the project “Knitted Light”, she created knitted structures which for example converts street noise into patterns of light. In the project “Reflecting rhythms”, she programmed machines to knit three-dimensional shapes which form rotating patterns and senses and reacts to movement in their surroundings.

My thesis suggests a new methodology for what is normally referred to as surface design, that is the design of surface structures. It opens up for new ways of connecting physical and digital design, says Delia Dumitrescu, architect and doctoral student at the Swedish School of Textiles and the innovation initiative Smart Textiles, who has also been admitted to the research school at Chalmers.

Smart textiles opens up opportunities

Most people are used to thinking of textiles as something with a smooth, passive surface which either covers our bodies or adorns our rooms. However, the more interested architects and designers become in the combination of analogue materials and digital technology, the more complex and unexpected shapes textiles will be able to take on.

The emergence of what is referred to as smart textiles allows designers to combine computer-based technology with traditional methods of creating different textile surface layers. And it is here, at the intersection between architecture, interactive design and textile design, that Delia Dumitrescu conducts her research.

It’s possible to design very complex geometrical surfaces using different kinds of digital platforms. The problems start when the surfaces are to be materialised. My research examines how the dynamic behaviour of the textile is affected when the material is given different expressions.

Complementary exhibition

In connection to the public defence of the doctoral thesis, an exhibition opened at the Swedish School of Textiles showing some of the knitted textiles Delia Dumitrescu has developed during her research and also the design examples presented in her thesis.

The exhibition is closely connected to the theoretical framework I develop and present in the thesis. It concretizes parts of the text, Delia Dumitrescu says.

Text: Emma Engström


Delia Dumitrescu, doctoral student at the Swedish School of Textiles, University of Borås.

Phone: +46 (0)73-1518336



Read more about the public defence of the doctoral thesis

Title of the thesis: Relational textiles: Surface expressions in space design.
Read the thesis here »

Public defence of the doctoral thesis:
 Wednesday 18 December, 13.00-15:00, Galleriet, T154, the Swedish School of Textiles, University of Borås.

Opponent: Katrin Mueller-Russo, professor at the Pratt Institute, New York.