On wearable technologies and smart textiles
In “Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man”, Marshall Mc Luhan mentioned housing and clothing as two of the most basic mediums. They are both thermo-regulatory mechanisms and social defining elements for the group or for the individual. The analysis of the relationship established between architecture and mode will allow us to approach notions such as space and surface. The modernist discourse from the beginning of XX century defined itself by the refusal of decoration and the subordination of surface to form. The new architectural paradigm considers reactive surfaces as an important element. Relying on flexibility and interactivity, today’s architecture substitutes surface with interface. In most of the reactive spaces the human presence is a constitutive element. In the same manner, the studies dealing with the development of wearable technologies and smart materials are precisely interested in textiles because of their qualities related to flexibility and portability. The possibilities to generate changes in the textile’s surface and color, or to improve their technical characteristics are some areas of research today. Based on a series of examples, this presentation introduces wearable technologies and smart textiles and will point out some of the paradigmatic changes that have occurred in the definition of form and surfaces from an interactive point of view.