Studio HILO is about a spinning machine, a software and a new creation of textiles. This project challenges the process of yarn production in the same way 3-D printers are revolutionising manufacturing. The HILO machine and software enable users to determine the textile properties at the very beginning of its production process: the yarn spinning.

Inspired by the ancient textile technique Ikat, in which yarn was dyed partially by hand to create patterns, evolved the idea of combining the complex ancient method with digital tools to reduce the technical complexity of the process. The aim was the fusion of analogue textile techniques with digital information processing: Weaving and computers are digital systems that work strictly with binary codes. This allows the transmission of information between both media. Such a combination opens up a new path in textile design, where the design process emphasizes the original material and begins with the fibers of the yarn. Yarn is the basic element for any textile construction.

The HILO software translates a digital pattern or an image into different yarn properties. By mapping the pixels of the image, it can translate different shades of colours into yarn thicknesses, from very light and loose to hard and thin. It can also resize the image to fit the desired textile dimensions and define either knitting or weaving technique. This results in textiles with unique tactile and aesthetic qualities. A finished piece can be applied in fashion, interior, industrial design or functional textiles.

The vision behind the project goes beyond the spinning machine and software. Established in 2018 as studio for digital textile education, Studio HILO offers workshops and trainings on sustainable yarn manufacturing, open hardware and digital spinning processes. By giving access to a European community of designers, researchers, small manufacturers and SMEs they create the possibility to experiment with local yarn manufacturing.

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