Meeting at the makerspace with fashion tech designer Anouk Wipprecht

(originally posted on Digicult – versione italiana sotto)

In “The Diamond Age, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer”, a cyberpunk novel by Neal Stephenson, where a near-future world is revolutionised by nanotechnology, Constable – the protagonist’s adoptive father – asks her daughter Nell which path she wants to take: “conformity or rebellion?”. Nell’s goes: “Neither one. Both ways are simple-minded — they are only for people who cannot cope with contradiction and ambiguity.”

Somehow the path Anouk Wipprecht took in her life had to deal with some of the challenges which reminded me of Nell and, like her, she didn’t allow creativity to be sacrificed for conformity. Back in September I spent with Anouk a day wandering from location to location here in Milan, in order to meet all the appointments of her schedule and then perform at Meet the Media Guru, a series of events featuring international leaders in digital culture discussing a variety of topics from science to fashion and environment.

Her work as a fashion tech designer brings her all over the world, especially in the US, where a diverse range of companies like Intel, Samsung and Swarovski commissioned her installations and products mixing the futuristic aesthetics of digital fabrication design, with the most innovative components of wearable tech. Since she started working in this field 12 years ago, she’s been developing 37 projects mainly transforming dresses into interfaces: through the use of robotics and open hardware finally fashion starts talking to us.

During our conversation and her keynotes, it’s clear how for Anouk Wipprecht that fashion means mainly dealing with expressiveness and communication. Born in the Netherlands she studied fashion since age 14 even if her family, not having a wealthy background, would have preferred she’d chosen something more oriented to a “real job”, like being a lawyer or a doctor. In those days Anouk was into drawing and the act of sketching garments became a way to express herself and overcome her introvert attitude. Continue reading Meeting at the makerspace with fashion tech designer Anouk Wipprecht

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Nesta Italia Incontra – The future of health

Il 26 marzo siamo stati a Torino al primo incontro del ciclo Nesta Italia Incontra con una sessione Show & Tell (ore 16:00-18:00) dedicata all’Innovazione sociale digitale curata da me e Serena Cangiano all’interno del progetto DSI4EU, tra i cui partner c’è WeMake, intorno al tema della salute e della cura. Il nostro obiettivo è la condivisione di esperienze tra i promotori di iniziative locali che stanno contribuendo ad innovare il mondo della cura dal basso partendo dal presupposto che l’innovazione sociale sia un processo continuo di contaminazione, apprendimento e co-creazione.

A seguire si è tenuto un dibattito a cui abbiamo contrinuito insieme ad Halima Khan, Executive Director dell’Health Lab di Nesta, che ci ha condiviso l’esperienza inglese dell’approccio di People Powered Health alla presenza di Elena Como, Research Area Manager di LAMA Agency.

Meeting at the makerspace with living-textile inventor: Lining Yao

(originally posted on Digicult – versione italiana sotto)

In the last years a new generation of researchers are perceiving the world around us in a different way. They see objects and materials through a multiplicity of properties and features which open different ways to interact with them. They’ve realized that most of the matter is able to respond to energy sources like temperature, moisture, light, pressure, vibration, electricity and this capacity activates a series of possible transformations we can control.

They call them smart materials or programmable matter and their experiments explore how these materials can respond and adapt to environments. At the same time, they are also shaping an alternative way to expand the realm of digital fabrication. The most visible feature of these smart materials is that we can talk about interaction design getting rid of screens, phones and blinking lights because the smartness is programmed in the material itself.

One of the most interesting approach to this field of research is when we can go beyond man-made systems and enter the biological kingdom and this is the focus of chinese-born designer Lining Yao. I stumbled upon the video of her Biologic project published some weeks before where she explains her work at MIT mixing biology, fashion and digital fabrication.

The video shows two dancers wearing Second Skin, a garment developed within the research, which we can see reacting to the change of their bodies’ conditions. When humans exercise our skin is able to take away the excessive heat through sweat and the garments we wear sometimes prevent this process. With Second Skin Lining Yao developed an ecosystem between the textile and the human body because created a bacteria composite, 3d printed it on the flaps of the garment: when the flaps perceive the humidity, they open up to make the skin cool down more easily. Continue reading Meeting at the makerspace with living-textile inventor: Lining Yao

Moda Modulare a Zurigo e Bari

Nei mesi scorsi ho tenuto due sessioni di Moda Modulare durante la Mini Maker Faire di Zurigo e presso La Scuola Open Source a Bari.
Nel primo caso è durato 4 ore e i partecipanti hanno progettato un modulo di feltro e testato i suoi incastri. Nel secondo caso invece, le 12 ore di corso e il lavoro di gruppo hanno permesso di raggiungere dei risultati più importanti perchè i partecipanti sono riusciti a realizzare dei veri e propri accessori.

Attraverso l’utilizzo di un software vettoriale e la macchina al taglio laser, si sono esplorate le potenzialità di tridimensionalità nella costruzione di moduli regolari che poi sono assemblati senza cuciture realizzando inedite tassellature.

La prossima edizione di Moda Modulare si terrà a Milano il 26 e 27 di Gennaio presso il Milano Luiss Hub. Iscrivi qui!

Esplora la Gallery su flickr:

Moda Modulare - Bari

Fiat Voluptas Tua – An Artwork

(testo italiano sotto)

an artwork by Zoe Romano, Giorgia Petri, Laura Migliano

DESCRIPTION

The 16th century was a time of medical revolution. Many pioneering researchers gathered new evidence from human dissections challenging accepted views on anatomy, and especially the bodies of women and men.

The 1559 edition of Thomas Gemini’s Compediosa Totius Anatomie Delineatio features a depiction of a semi-dissected female torso, and the book’s original owner  cut away a neat triangle of paper on which the vagina would have been drawn. Continue reading Fiat Voluptas Tua – An Artwork

An Open Design approach to support innovation for the societal good. A paper

Serena Cangiano and me submitted to the 12th European Academy of Design Conference a paper to share some insights around our work at DSI4EU project. The paper was then published on the Volume 20 of Design Journal.

Built upon the definition of social innovation, the umbrella expression “digital social innovation” was introduced to describe a wide range of projects that use digital technologies, community engagement and collaboration, co-creation strategies and bottom-up approaches to solve societal needs, in opposition to the centralized proprietary solutions owned by a few companies. Assessing how digital social innovation projects can scale in order to have a better impact, is crucial to provide a concrete European model to innovation creation that considers values beyond economic factors. This paper presents the results of a one-year training program aimed at supporting the scalability of digital social innovation projects in order to have a better impact. In particular, it describes the application of an open design approach to the design of a P2P mentoring model, and a sustainability toolkit that faces the issue of generating capacity building in emerging community of tech social innovators.

Read the paper

Design for Next: Proceedings of the 12th European Academy of Design Conference, Sapienza University of Rome, 12-14 April 2017

Il broccato dei telai a torre di Chengdu

L’allevamento del baco da seta in Cina ha avuto origine nel Sichuan più di 4000 anni fa quando Chengdu era la capitale del regno di Shu. E proprio con questo nome, Shu, viene chiamato  il broccato con origini più  antiche da cui tutti gli altri si sono poi evoluti.

Il broccato è un particolare tipo di tessitura che permette di ottenere delle illustrazioni complesse, alternando fili molto sottili di seta, che danno l’impressione di essere ricamate su stoffa.

Il commercio dei tessuti di broccato si articolò attraverso la via della seta, in tutta l’Asia e in Europa a partire proprio da Chengdu, in cui la manifattura della seta (dall’allevamento dei bachi fino alla confezione degli abiti) e il suo commercio si sviluppò fino a raggiungere, nella dinastia Qing, la diffusione di 10 mila telai e più di 2000 laboratori attivi.

Nel 2009 ha inaugurato il Chengdu Shu Brocade and Embroidery Museum, su iniziativa della Chengdu Silk Corporation, azienda statale che dagli anni ’50-’60 ha organizzato la produzione utilizzando telai meccanici perché il costo della manodopera era diventato eccessivo, e l’utilizzo di telai completamente manuali non riesce a superare una produzione di 6-8 centimetri al giorno di broccato. Continue reading Il broccato dei telai a torre di Chengdu