Making woven e-textile sensors for Polyphonic Playground, with Fashion Space Gallery and Studio PSK

Polyphonic Playground in Ventura Lambrate, Milan, Italy. Photo credit: Carlos Jiménez

Weft Lab was approached by Fashion SpaceGallery (London College of Fashion) for some e-textile work of the second iteration of a commissioned project with Studio PSK, titled the ‘Polyphonic Playground’. This project was a site specific interactive music/ sound installation, to enable adults to rediscover the experience of play, similar to the memories evoked from the joy of childhood playground activities. The project enabled a collaboration between design, music and textiles for an immersive interactive experience. 

The Polyphonic Playground was first debuted in Assemble Miami 2014, and was a huge success. The second iteration of the project was for Ventura Lambrate, Milan in April 2015, where this version was adapted with integrated woven e-textiles made by Weft Lab (Dr Priti Veja). Working closely with Studio PSK and Fashion Space Gallery, two integrated hand woven e-textile sensors were developed. The sensors were positioned onto the outer side panels of the interactive swings, enabling musical outputs when activated by participants touching the sensor. 

The project is making a third appearance during the London Design Festival 2015, 23rd -27th September, at LCF Mare Street with a series of LAB events – more information can be found here.

Woven e-textile sensor being woven on the automated hand loom

The process of making the woven e-textile sensors were mapped to specific designs agreed with Studio PSK and Fashion Space Gallery. The process involved developing a specific warp design to enable interwoven connections of conductive yarns during the woven process. 

The woven execution required specific weft orders, selected woven structures, weft placements and controlled connections between warp and weft at given points. The weaving process has been documented in the images below.

Threading up the warp on the loom - a manual process
Warp is tensioned, tied on and ready to weave
Beginning to weave - initially test pieces to asses the woven structures
Woven e-textile sensor one - work in progress
Completed woven e-textile sensor cut off the loom, pre-finishing process
Finished woven e-textile sensor - applied to Polyphonic Playground swing installation

A video of the installation in Ventura Lambrae, Milan 2015 can be viewed here

Polyphonic Playground at Ventura Lambrate, Milan 2015, Film by Carlos Jiménez

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