Product Design


Nicky Vollebregt
Practice Autonomous Practices
Project Hacking
Major Product Design
Year Fourth Year

Nominee: Bachelor Research Award and Drempelprijs Autonomous Practices 2020

Uncover is a collection of textiles born from research exploring the possibilities and limitations of designing materials that are able to influence their relationship with their owners from their characteristics.

As a material-focussed designer, I bring new materials and products into the world. I feel it is necessary to reflect on how I can do this in a sustainable way. However, in my practice, I feel restricted within common sustainable material design approaches, which often are centred around circularity, biodegradability, recyclability and reusability. Additionally, these approaches can often overlook product lifespan, a big determining factor in the conscious use of resources.


I studied the routes through which I, as a designer, can influence the relationships between my designs and their future owners.

That is why I studied the theme of emotional durability, an approach of reducing consumption and the waste of resources and improving the relationships between consumers and products. I studied the routes through which I, as a designer, can influence the relationships between my designs and their future owners. By focussing on the role of materials in the development of these relationships, I searched for approaches to designing materials that can stimulate their owners to connect growing personal and emotional meanings to them.


This research was conducted alongside an exploration of hand-weaving techniques and elaborate experimentation with the colouring of yarns, using a variety of dyes with different fastnesses. By embracing and working with the unstable and transformative behaviour of colour within my designs, I am able to design their current forms and also direct their future appearances, which will be unique for every owner.



This research has resulted in the Uncover textiles: a collection in which each textile is designed to visually transform over the time of being used, worn and - during this time - being exposed to daylight. The balance between synthetic and natural dyes in the yarns allows the textiles to repetitively open up to new hues of colour.



By covering and uncovering parts of the textiles - by folding, draping or pleating the material - the hues and patterns of exposed and non-exposed parts become the visual traces of interactions. Through these transformations, the textiles are meant to capture an owner’s personal meanings formed through the visualisation of previous experiences, while also promising new and yet to discover appearances. These incentives should help to stimulate long and intimate lifespans of the textiles and the objects they are implemented in.



Uncover is an ongoing project.