Parsons Open Style Lab

Universal Materiality Gallery

Universal Materiality

Exhibition Location
66 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003 at Parsons School of Design, The New School

Exhibition Feb 4 – Feb 25, 2019


Accessible entrances to The Aronson Gallery on 66 Fifth Avenue are located at Fifth Avenue and 13th Street at Parsons School of Design. The Fifth Avenue entrance has a ramp that is accessible to wheelchair users and other visitors who need to avoid stairs. Visitors with disabilities may use mobility devices, including manual and electric wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and manually powered mobility aids (such as walkers, canes, and crutches) in all areas open to public pedestrian use. The following online description of each work below can be accessed through a smartphone or other device with supportive voice features to read each description.

Gallery Pieces (Outside) – Scroll down for accessibility reader

The material pieces “A” through “G” displayed in the hallway are the result of a design and development collaboration between Tan’s research group and Jun’s group that started at ITC, HKPolyU in Hong Kong. Students at ITC created swatch explorations to imagine the potential applications of electronic materials on the body in forms such as jackets, knee braces, and jean pockets. Case studies from Open Style Lab and 3d-printing research were created at the same time to prepare for a summer program at The New School, Parsons School of Design. The fellows included professional practitioners and students from diverse institutions which included Parsons students and alumni.


Dr. Jeanne Tan (HKPOLYU ITC)

Polymeric Optical Fibre (POF)

10″ W x 34 1/2″ H / each piece

Description: Two long pieces of woven fabrics with POF. POF fibers cause the fabric to light up when connected to a battery.


Applied Circuit Design on Yoke

Grace Jun

Gold Thread, Muslin

17 1/4″ W x 6″ H

Description: A yoke design (the back piece of a top) that depicts the conductive circuit drawing using gold thread as an example of how to apply technology into clothing.  


3d Printed Silicone on Polymeric Optical Fibre

Dr. Jeanne Tan, Heeyoung Kim (HKPOLYU ITC)

Silicone, Polymeric Optical Fibre Textile (POF)

6″ W x 15 1/2″ H x 1/4″ D

Description: A soft 3d-printed hexagon print on illuminating fabic.

Conductive Knit for Knee Impact

Heeyoung Kim, Amy Chen (HKPOLYU ITC)

Polyester Yarn, Silver Coated Yarn

10” W x 8.8” H

Description: A fabric manipulation piece designed to look at knee impact using conductive thread to imagine the knee joint as a sensor for wearable technology.

Purple Conductive Knit for Stretch Sensor

Heeyoung Kim, Amy Chen (HKPOLYU ITC)

Conductive Yarn, Stretch Nylon

7.5” W x 8” H

Blue Conductive Knit for Stretch Sensor

Heeyoung Kim, Amy Chen (HKPOLYU ITC)

Conductive Yarn, Stretch Nylon

7.5” W x 5.75” H

Description: A series of fabric swatches using different knitting gauges (tension) and amounts of conductive thread to test for durability, conductivity, resistance, and functional aesthetics.


Interactive and Detachable Light Strip with Tilt Sensor

Dr. Jeanne Tan, Heeyoung Kim (HKPOLYU ITC), Grace Wu, Julie Osipow

Wool-TPU Bonded Fabric and Polymeric Optical Fibre (POF) with interfacing.

2″ W x 6″ H

Description: An enclosed illuminating textile connected with a detachable tilt sensor to embed into pants.


Houndstooth: 3D-printed Geometric Embellishments

Julia Liao (Open Style Lab x Ultimaker)

TPU 95A fused onto Linen

6″ W x 6″ H

Arrows: 3D-printed Geometric Embellishments

Nylon fused onto Gauze

6″ W x 6″ H

Pyramids: 3D-printed Geometric Embellishments

PLA fused onto Organza

6″ W x 6″ H

Description: Three white fabric swatch explorations using 3d printing on to create various textures.


Collaborative Workshop in Hong Kong

Grace Jun, Dr. Jeanne Tan, HKPOLYU ITC Researchers


17” W x 9″ H

Description: Four large photos of researchers in Hong Kong Poly U’s Institute of Textiles program with Assistant Professor, Grace Jun, working on applying textiles with electronics. Explorations were base on talking to caregiving practioners and material sciences in Hong Kong, to best prepare working with people with disabilities the summer of 2018.


Open Style Lab 10-week Summer Program at Parsons School of Design

Kilian Son

Video, 1 mintue

Description: A video summarizes the 2018 Open Style Lab Summer Program at The New School, Parsons Shcool of Design, where explorations of previous fabrics explorations using technology  (Hong Kong workshop) were applied to the process. Engineers, designers, and therapists were teamed with long term elderly and disabled residents at Riverside Rehab to co-create accessible clothing over ten weeks.

Gallery Work (Inside)

Seven garments inside the gallery were designed with custom dressforms made of plexiglass. The forms depict various body shapes from seated to a hunched. Each form is dressed in a gray-scale from white to black, numbered from 1 to 7 to indicate the level of assistance each person with a disability experienced. The garments and forms are accompanied by a series of fabric swatches and videos that were part of the process in discovering innovative materials for designing a functional, yet stylish piece of clothing. Anti-Slip tape was placed on the gallery floor next to each form, to prevent accidents and serve as visual or tactile indicators. The garment designs are the results of a co-design process between the Open Style Lab fellows, Parsons faculty, and participants from The Riverside Premier Rehabilitation and Healing Centre. Further developing the initial research from Hong Kong, the 10-week summer program at The New School, Parsons School of Design, involved Tan and Jun working alongside Parsons part-time faculty, Making Center technicians, 6 material design researchers, 21 fellows (with backgrounds in occupational therapy, design, and engineering) and 7 participants.


Envelop / Elevate
Team Florence – Amy Chen, Julia Lemle, Karen Moskowitz
A universal skirt solution allowing ease of toileting by minimizing clothing management needs; with a complimentary top designed for ranges in hand or finger dexterity.

Description: A top and skirt combination created with a woman experiencing dexterity challenges.


Interlocking Magnets  

Amy Chen, Julia Lemle

Stretch suiting wool, PLA filament, Magnets

10” W x 10” H


Wrinkle Free Test for Shirt

Amy Chen, Julia Lemle


7.5” W x 8” H

Description: Fabric explorations using different manipulation techniques that helped decide the final fabric and form of the skirt and top look.


Team Robert – Bolor Amgalan, Herbert Ramirez, Alyssa Brandofino
High-quality, comfortable performance jacket boosting confidence by enabling independent donning.

Description: A jacket designed for easier access using a pulling system on the side seam.

Description: The following fabric swatches explored the use of performance fabrics for stretch and breathability.  


Closure Prototype

Bolor Amgalan, Herbert Ramirez, Julia Liao

Polartec power stretch

7” W x 8.5” H


Miniature Sleeve

Bolor Amgalan

Polartec power stretch

7” W x 8.5” H


Cuff Interface

Bolor Amgalan, Herbert Ramirez

Conductive yarn, LED, resistor, battery, wool (American Woolen)

4.75” W x 9” H


Miniature Jacket Piece

Bolor Amgalan

Polartec power grid, wool (American Woolen)

7” W x 9” H


LIU LID (Light it up, let it drop)

Team Ada – Heeyoung Kim, Grace Wu, Julie Osipow
Athleisure pant using interactive technology to enable efficient dressing and motivate physical activity.

Description: A pant with a pleat design on the bottom hem to help promote easier access when in a seated position.


Description: The following fabric swatches were created to exploration the possibilites of geometric pleat design with 3d-printing on various materials to help the user fold his or her pant with ease.

3a & 3b

3d-printing Pattern Applications for Pleating 1

Heeyoung Kim, Grace Wu

PLA, denim

6” W x 11” H


Wool Pleat

Heeyoung Kim, Grace Wu

Wool-TPU bonded fabric (Woolmark)

9” W x 9” H


Wool Bonded with 3D-Printing

Heeyoung Kim, Grace Wu

Wool (Woolmark), Ninja Flex TPU

9” W x 15” H


Pleat Paper Prototype

Heeyoung Kim, Grace Wu

Cardboard paper

9” W x 15” H


Pleat Paper Prototype 2

Heeyoung Kim, Grace Wu

Cardboard paper

6.5” W x 9” H


P.O.B (Pride of Barbados)
Team Velda – Tiffany Hwang, Manlin Song, Lindsey Day

A personalized, stylish formal dress designed to give more independence to people experiencing mobility impairment.

Description: A dress designed with a pulling system to allow easier access in the front of the garment for person experiencing low strength and dexterity in hands and fingers.

Description: The following fabric swatches displayed depict the application of possible manipulations on wool. Laser rastering was explored to create floral pattern designs based on the user style and preference. 


Pulley Strap with Channel Inserted into Lining

Tiffany Hwang, Manlin Song

Wool (Woolmark), silk charmeuse, silk ribbon, TPU

9” W x 9” H


Laser Rastering Texture on Wool

Tiffany Hwang, Manlin Song

Wool (Woolmark CoolMax)

9” W x 9” H




Team Roxie – Alyssa Wardrop. Ray LC, Michael Tranquilli

A reversible wrap dress to empower independent, one-handed dressing.

Description: A wrap dress designed with a woman experiencing paralysis on the side of the body opposite the side of the brain damaged by stroke.

Description: While the final garment was designed without the use of any closures, the fabric swatches displayed explored different closure applications using magnets and embossing.


Bonding Magnets Into Facing

Alyssa Wardrop

Polartec Power Grid, weft fusible interfacing, magnets

10” W x 10” H


Embossed Swatch

Alyssa Wardrop

Polartec Power Grid, fusible interfacing

10” W x 10” H



Team Wanda – Nicholas Paganelli, Mikael Kalin, Amélie Lavoie

Rock ‘n’ roll-inspired jacket designed for the stage that also allows pain-free dressing with colored labeling on the inside for easier dressing.

Description: A jacket created with a woman experiencing tremors and paralysis.  


Description: The swatches hanging above the garment explored laser cutting and rastering techniques on wool to mimic animal textures for a sophisticated look that was sustainable but stylish.   



Laser Rastering Circular Patterns 1

Nicholas Paganelli, Mikael Kalin, Amélie Lavoie

Wool (Woolmark CoolMax)

5” W x 3” H


Laser Rastering Circular Patterns 2

Nicholas Paganelli, Mikael Kalin, Amélie Lavoie


5” W x 3” H


Laser Rastering Exotic Skin Texture on Wool

Nicholas Paganelli, Mikael Kalin, Amélie Lavoie

Wool (Woolmark CoolMax)

10” W x 10” H


Team Michele – Camila Chiriboga, Sid Lamaute, Jessica Otolo

A top and skirt ensemble that emphasizes comfort, cleanliness, and femininity inspired by personal and caregiving relationships.

Description: A top and skirt combination that provided easy access for an elderly woman with cerebral palsy, who gets dressed in the supine position (The supine position means lying horizontally with the face and torso facing up).

Description: The swatches hanging above the garment were based on the painting Michelle created of two elephants, which were then printed on fabric.



Printed watercolor on fabric for lovesimple
Michele Bachrach, Camila Chiriboga and Jessica Otolo

Sport lycra – 88% polyester and 12% Lycra® fiber

8” H x 8” W


Printed drawing on fabric for lovesimple 2
Michele Bachrach, Camila Chiriboga, and Jessica Otolo

Sport lycra – 88% polyester and 12% Lycra® fiber

8” H x 8” W

Description: Three fabric swatches explorations created to explore the possibility of circuit design using wool and conductive thread.


Interactive Knits

Catherine (Katya) Ekimain

Wool, conductive thread

16″ W x 26″ H