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How to design materials that stimulate strong emotional connections between them and their future owners?


3D viewing room

Uncover is a collection of textiles born from research exploring the possibilities and limitations of designing materials that are able to influence their relationship with their owners from their characteristics.

Uncover started from the concept of emotional durability, an approach of reducing consumption and the waste of resources by improving the relationships between consumers and products. The research explores the routes through which I, as a designer, can influence the relationships between my designs and their future owners. By focusing on the role of materials in the development of these relationships, I searched for approaches of designing materials that can stimulate their owners to connect growing personal and emotional meanings to them.

Each textile in the collection is designed to visually transform over the time of being used and, during this time, being exposed to daylight. The colouring process, involving a variety of dyes, allows the textiles to repetitively open up to new hues. The hues and patterns of exposed and non-exposed parts of the textiles become the visual traces of interactions. These traces capture an owner’s personal meanings formed through the visualisation of previous experiences, while also promising yet to discover appearances. These incentives should help to stimulate long and intimate lifespans of the textiles and the objects they are implemented in.

Nicky Vollebregt

As a material-focussed designer, I am continuously reevaluating how I can contribute to more sustainable lifespans for our possessions and more conscious consumption patterns. I explore crafts and textile techniques in a hands-on and research-based design process.