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Delia Dumitrescu

2016-12-19 14:06

New professor connects textile, architecture and design

The Swedish School of Textiles has a new professor, Delia Dumitrescu. Her research is about architecture, interaction design, and textile design – and all the connections in between. Her aim is to develop new material and methods.

When Delia Dumitrescu began her studies in textile design at the Swedish School of Textiles in 2005, she was already an architect and she had worked for a year in Bucharest designing buildings.

“I was intrigued by the new weaving machines at the Swedish School of Textiles, which had the capacity to knit in metal,” she says. “I wanted to use stiff yarns with various functionalities and to develop interactive products with conductive parts and lightning sensors. I wanted them to be a bridge between textile and architecture.” 

In 2013, she finished her PhD with the thesis Relational textiles: surface expressions in space design. 

About Delia Dumitrescu
Age: 38 years
Lives: In Gothenburg
Family: Partner
Gets angry: At loud noises
Gets happy: When trekking in the mountains
Dreams of: Taking one of the ancient pilgrimages, Way of Arles
If I didn’t worked with design: I would have chosen to become a lawyer
Hidden talent: Downhill skiing
If I could invite anyone to dinner: Marie Skłodowska Curie, no doubt

“My specialty is machine knitting and in my thesis I investigated new ways of connecting physical and digital design through data-based technology in digital platforms. I investigated how the dynamic behaviour of the textile changed when the material received different expressions.” 

Her favourite place to be is in the labs of the Swedish School of Textiles. There are several reasons:

“There are fantastic industrial machines in the knitting lab and they can be digitally programmed, which enable us to create work with great accuracy,” she says. “The lab technicians are also of great value: they are all very helpful and also as curious as the researchers. Additionally, it’s a good thing that all of us scientists meet students in the labs in the everyday work. This gives us the opportunity to rapidly integrate new knowledge into the educational programmes.”  

International collaboration and supervision of doctoral students

Delia Dumitrescu is happy about her new position but she would like to de-emphasise the buzz about her career and its rapid progress: “if you are passionate about what you do, then it’s easy to make that extra effort”. It’s not harder than this. 

Her passion is about what she studied as a student – textile design.

“I love to create new material and to find new ways to use textiles.” 

She appreciates working in the training network ArcInTexETN, which is a cross-disciplinary project funded by European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions, and initiated by Lars Hallnäs, professor in interactive design. ArcInTexETN aims to strengthen the foundations of design for more sustainable forms of future living by connecting architecture, interaction design, and textiles in a training network for early stage researchers. Delia Dumitrescu is the director of studies for ArcInTexETN and she is also a supervisor for doctoral students in textile architecture. She is also the manager of the Smart Textiles Design Lab, which, among other duties, involves dissemination of their research, both within industry as well as academia, and thereby stimulating research collaboration.

 “Within the Smart Textiles Design Lab’s basic research, we explore the design opportunities when it comes to new material and we develop new textile techniques. It was from the Smart Textiles Design Lab that the idea emerged to create a research network called ArcInTex for collaboration between academia and industry with a common interest in smart textiles, interaction design, and architecture. Agneta Nordlund Andersson and I are co-ordinators since 2015 for both this wider network, ArcInTex as well as the EU-funded training network ArcInTexETN.” 

Applied science as well as research within the educational field

Her own research is mainly basic research but she will also participate in a collaboration project that is applied science. New textiles are being developed to be used in sensory and musical interactions and the results are expected to benefit people with severe disabilities. 

“We will try out different materials, such as cotton, wool, viscose, but also high-tech yarns. By means of different structures and patterns, which are produced by various knitting techniques, we will pass both light and sound through textiles and this will create sensory feedback. The aim is to use these textiles within, for example, music therapy.” 

Delia Dumitrescu is also involved in educational research. Within the ArcInTexETN project, there is an educational research track. The aim is to analyse the activities and to develop new models for artistic research, such as cross-disciplinary programmes. 

What’s next in the near future for you?

“No major changes. I will continue to teach and to participate in other research projects. The fact that I have grown into the research environment of the Swedish School of Textiles is a great advantage to me, since it gives me the opportunity to both form and to be formed. I would like to develop the field of textiles both as its own discipline as well as in collaboration with other fields of design.” 

Text and photo: Lena M Fredriksson
Translation: Elisabeth Eliason/Eva Medin