Our research at DXM explores concepts that link material innovation with design-led experimentation and develops future-orientated solutions for societally relevant fields of applications and contexts.



Research Focuses

Research Focus: Soft Technologies
Lead: Prof. Dr. Zane Berzina
The research focus Soft Technologies facilitates a forward-looking practice-led design inquiry with a focus on textile practices and material innovations at the intersection of technology, science, crafts and culture. The fertile space in-between these traditionally mostly separated fields; the potential for mutually fruitful synergies between these diverse disciplines is what fascinates us and provides the general framework for our work. This approach enables and fosters cross-disciplinary design research and practices with an aim to address the various challenges and needs of our society and environment in close collaboration with experts from across various scientific institutes, industry, academia, and cultural sector.
Within this context the core interest lies on creative and scholarly investigations of textiles and material futures combined with thorough practical hands-on inquiry of the subject matter. We are addressing the societal changes and needs from various perspectives ranging from sustainability, social aspects, well-being and health to highly technological viewpoints, merging crafts with digital technologies, exploring the realms of machine-human interactions and ubiquitous computing through e-textile practices or growing materials using bio-technological methods.
We are passionate about the future opportunities that soft technologies, textile cultures and material innovation in general, combined with design thinking are offering in order to develop innovative haptic interfaces for the body and its various environments. Our research and graduate projects are spanning a broad range of applications including interiors, product design, fashion and clothing, sound design, system design, sustainable innovation as well as science and technology communication employing design methods.
Research Focus: Functional Surfaces and Active Matter in Spatial Context
Lead: Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Christiane Sauer
The research focuses on the development and implementation of sustainable material strategies in the context of space, buildings and facades, on active and adaptive systems, lightweight structures and energetically effective surfaces. Combining material, technology and design functional surfaces are being developed for architectural and spatial applications.
Material properties and material geometries become an integral part of the research approach. They are not fixed, but can be changed by rearranging their components. Due to their open construction textile- and fibre-based materials offer the possibility of specifically tailoring surface properties and functionalising its components. The upscaling of textile techniques such as woven, braided or looped structures as well as the development of novel fiber components for surfaces offer new possibilities for spatial implementation of textile technology reaching beyond membrane construction. Flexibility and “soft” structures open up new potentials for adaptable architecture.
Active, adaptive and changeable material systems can react to external conditions, e.g. to create energetically effective surfaces for spaces and buildings. With a special focus on technical textiles, smart materials and biomaterials new design approaches for active surfaces are explored. Interdisciplinary cooperations with partners from engineering and architectural practice, natural sciences, material industry and material research ensure a relevant and practical research outcome.

Funded Projects



The interdisciplinary research project LignoLight develops materials and products based on lignin, a by-product of the global paper and cellulose industry. In contrast to the current thermal utilisation of the by-product, LignoLight utilises lignin in the...

11/2022 - 04/2025

Thema Pi

Development of a sports belt based on modulated medium frequencies for mobile applications, for postnatal muscle development of the deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles.

02/2021 - 09/2021


Development of an adaptive textile through the integration of shape memory alloy for an autonomously controlled sun protection for public spaces in extreme climate regions. Comfort factors such as...

06/2020 - 05/2021

SoundAdapt 2.0

The research project SoundAdapt 2.0 builds on the SoundAdapt project and likewise deals with the development of acoustically variable kinetic surfaces. Adaptive wall panels are being developed that can be installed...

06/2019 - 12/2022


Development of a technological platform to integrate sensory and actory functions into a textile, to support the therapy of people with hemiplegia. The transdisciplinary research-project „TheraTex“ deals with the development of an e-textile platform. By integrating sensory...

01/2018 - 12/2020

Digital Materials

The practice-based research project Digital Materials examines possibilities to make digital processes directly operative and tangible in physical materials and is located in the interdisciplinary field of Active Matter. Conception,...

12/2017 - 11/2020


The research project Adaptex investigates the potential of using the shape-changing material Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) in an adaptive sun shading textile for architecture. By incorporating SMA as an actuator into a textile...

06/2017 - 05/2021

Textile Prototyping Lab

The Textile Prototyping Lab (TPL) is a research project of five organisations from the fields of textile, electronics research, design, and economy. It includes the design, installation, and testing of a textile prototyping...

03/2017 - 02/2020

Sound Adapt

Adaptive surface modules for variable room acoustics The R&D project Sound Adapt deals with the development of a kinetic surface, which can influence the acoustic parameters within buildings in a fast...

10/2016 - 01/2019

smart materials satellites

What are smart materials? What makes a material smart? How can complex scientific topics be translated using methods from art and design? How can technological knowledge be made tangible and visible to a broad...

12/2014 - 5/2016

Smart Tools For Smart Design (ST4SD)

The research project within the framework of the BMBF-funded research cluster smart3 aimed to enable innovative cooperation between designers and scientists in order to encourage and facilitate the development of design concepts and prototypes...

01/2014 – 11/2014

Start Smart

the strategy phase of smart³ where a shared road map for the heterogeneous research consortium was determined. Project partners: Fraunhofer-Institut IWU, Dresden, Fraunhofer-Institut IAP, Potsdam-Golm, Fraunhofer-Institut IKTS, Dresden, Kunsthochschule Burg Giebichenstein,...

PhD Projects

Practice-led research is at the very heart of DXM. The research topics are covering wide range of topics from experimental material research to intelligent textiles and architectural applications. Our research culture aims at the integration of theory and practice, and promotes individual artistic and scientific enquiry spanning from applied research projects to speculative design probes. Design research at the doctoral level at DXM is currently possible only in cooperation with another university entitled to offer doctorate programmes, as weißensee kunsthochschule berlin does not yet have the right to award a doctorate on its own.




FORM-FINDING THROUGH 3D PRINTING ON PRE-STRESSED TEXTILES Textiles have been used in architecture...

Digital Materials

The project introduces the fiction of “Digital Materials” and aims to show...