In recent years, Vienna has regained global recognition by channelling its strong modernist tradition. With a rich programme, MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts – showcases the latest technological and intellectual developments in design. Curated by Sabine Seymour and Thomas Geisler, Scientific Skin is a new exhibition – 30 October 2013 to 14 January 2014 – that explores the potential of intelligent textiles as synthetic extensions of the body.

For the second edition of MAK’s successful Fashion Lab series, London-based Bare Conductive teamed up with innovative textile designers to develop large-scale interventions. Prototypes and installations were joined by explanatory videos but also put into historic context with works by Josef Hoffmann, Maria Strauss-Likiarz and Robert Peche.

Among the projects, Coutours by Fabio Antinori and Alicja Pytlewska is an new interactive tapestry. Bringing a second skin to life, they applied electrically charged paint in geometric patterns reminiscent of Wiener Werkstätt principles. With embedded sensors reacting to motion, such technology could be used in medicine – providing constant patient feedback.

Photos courtesy of the designers