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Soft Systems

Xin Zhou

With a BA in Fashion and Textile at Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, Xin Zhou has developed her research on textile design in a broader context of social awareness at the Royal College of Art. 

Her work overlaps CMF, digital, and spatial design. By employing digital tools as an aid, she is currently exploring the potential of surfaces ranging from space to objects, the capacity of which could be adjusted by flexible textiles for adapting to the variable living method.

Xin has an ambition of working collaboratively with artists, scientists, and engineers with different backgrounds, in which way she could develop her practice into a wider social sphere. 

What is sustainable?

My perspective on sustainable lifestyle is not limited to recycling, but more importantly, providing a better life for human beings - Using the resource efficiently, reducing production/carbon emissions, improve people living quality and happiness.

So as a textile designer, my aim is to use design as a tool to solve social issues, my experimentation is around achieving a sustainable living method by creating functional textiles. 

I have found my investigation at the RCA based on my personal experience. Space and land are relatively static, so space arrangement and management is a big challenge for Human beings. But what if the size of the space can be changed in the future?

I use origami as a starting point and experiment with various kinds of materials. This flexible structure is used to adjust the capacity of containers.

How can space adapt to human living methods? 

In my childhood, I lived with a big family. Containing six people in 30 square meters house became a big challenge. Foldable furniture helped save space, and ‘Decluttering’ became the motto for my family. We often changed our space arrangement based on everyone's needs. Flexible living thus had a great effect on my family and has developed into a lifestyle.

"Flexible City"

Pleating and origami techniques are usually used in adjusting the size of the fabric. Does it have any potential to adjust the capacity of space at a 3-dimensional level?

If the capacity of space could be changed flexibly based on the living or working habit, it will increase working efficiency and improve living happiness. The ambition to improve people's living environment led me to the exploration of origami textiles used for flexible living. In this project, people could adjust their working/living space based on their change of living habits and production pace.