Award 2016

Paula van Brummelen

Responsive Surfaces


The project involved the development of a soft, adaptable and intelligent membrane. Through the integration of shape memory alloy actuators, sensors and micro-controllers, the surface structure is capable of reacting to external stimuli (touch) with fluid movements within the surface structure, without losing the textile-like flexibility. A key focus of Responsive Surfaces is the development of a surface structure that does not require rigid materials and distances itself from the frequently occurring division of kinetic structures into “solid supporting structure” and “flexible shell / mobile elements”. Responsive Surfaces is based on a system of two textile layers placed on top of each other. Thereby the top layer can be shifted by using shape memory alloy actuators. Through their repetitive arrangement, the individual forms anchored in the two textile layers form the surface structure of Responsive Surfaces. If the top layer is shifted, these elements are tilted according to the movement direction of the top layer. This surface structure also offers options of integration for sensors and control units and can thus be regarded as a skin-like, intelligent membrane system in which the separation of function, material and form of expression is annulled.

Special award given by Industrieverein Sachsen 1828 e.V.



Paula van Brummelen graduated from the Bern University of the Arts with a Masters degree in art education. She also holds a degree in art history from the University of Bern and a Masters degree in textile and surface design from Weißensee Academy of Art Berlin. Selected exhibitions: Neu Now Festival, Art Basel, Campus der Künste, Basel (2015); Seeing as hearing, Hanns Eisler Kunsthochschule, Berlin (2015); Schlaue Textilien, Fraunhofer Forum, Munich (2012).