super folds

Check out the video ARCHI FOLDS Theaters Tilburg for the latest update on this research!

This research is a collection assignment of the Dutch Textile Museum

Following from the study of the development of 3D texture and the opportunities folding structures for architectural applications, the ambition arose to develop self folding textiles.







Folding is mainly well-known being carried out in paper, though interesting improvements can be achieved in textiles in comparison to paper.

Advantages conducted in textile vs. paper : – Acoustic – Durability – Texture ( hard and soft) – Technical Programming – > ” simple ” changes – Flexible forms – Compact during storage

Prior to this collection assignment for the Textile Museum the first steps in the self folding fabric were already taken as part of the research project ” Archi Textiles”*. Folding a flat plane requires certain skills, and is on a larger scale in an increasingly difficult task. The weaving machine offers opportunities to program complex folding structures, making them more accessible and usable.



The study ” Super Folds ” then developed along three lines :

1. the capability of the computer pre programmed folding structures in textile 2. aesthetic and tactile properties of folded textile structures 3. the possibility for deriving structural properties,

Step 1 The basis for each textile is the combination of yarns and bindings. That was also the starting point for the search for the self- folding properties. A folding structure consists of a flat plane and folds that are characterized by opposite properties: hard versus soft / rigid vs. flexible. This contrasts yielded large tension differences on the loom, which not only made the machine jammed, some tests were not even processable. After many research, we have reached a delicate balance.

Step 2 The different folding patterns were examined; two types of folds Yoshimura and miura fold, served the base. The Miura is a beautiful structure that is very regular and easily folds in and out with many application possibilities.

On the basis of the pattern Miura fold, the contrast between the properties of the soft textile compared to the hard folding was investigated. That was executed by bringing hard and soft in a gradient along that would underlining the textile tactile properties. The distinction between hard and soft reflected in the use of paper versus mohair. These contrasting features are applied in a subtle white – white combination. As biggest contrast we created a 15 cm high folded structure running to an extremely smooth running of mohair fabric up to 15 cm high fold structure developed. By enlarging the Miura various applications came into perspective for folding fabrics, such as 3D and flexible space dividers and smaller screens.