• Doktorander


I work with a broad perspective in the design programme at HDK. I have also been in charge of courses where “surface and repeated image” has been studied. This is a practice and a field of knowledge intriguingly more than 40 000 years old. At HDK students work with the subject both in free and industrial contexts.

At HDK I have also been part of the artistic research project “The Surface of the Materiality” together with Kristina Fridh. In the practical part of the project we examined different glass techniques and how to manipulate and filter light and view. By using different glass techniques we also tried to create changeable spatial experiences. The project was then shown at the Röhsska Museum in Gothenburg in October and November 2009. The project also resulted in the book “Ytans materialitet”.

In my own work as designer the textile material and the textile association often plays a great part. In the project “Feat” for instance, I created a number of patterns for fabric. These fabrics and patterns then served as raw material for a number of invited designers and artists who interpreted the material in connection with a certain theme. This resulted in garments for heroes. The project was exhibited in 06-07 and is documented on the web site www.laurien.se.

Since 2008 I am also a PhD-student in Design at HDK and the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Gothenburg.


Surface Events
All the artefacts and buildings we create and encounter have surfaces. The surfaces are the only things we can actually see and touch and are therefore important for the creation of meaning. As a doctoral student within the framework of artistic research, I will be working on a project that revolves around the creating and perceiving of surface events. Consequently, this project necessarily deals with concepts and the formation of concepts together with how concepts move between cultural contexts and how this influences the design practice in question and its practitioners. My dissertation is intended to comprise a combination of two articles and also a number of applications of the design work.

Article 1: ”Traces of a concept: Shibori / Japanese concepts of form as superstrata”
Japanese concepts of form play an important role in my project. Within linguistics, the term superstratum denotes a language that succeeds, influences and dominates another. The language that exerts the influence is spoken by a dominating group. An example of this within the field of textiles in Sweden is how the technical concept and the expression shibori has gradually replaced the Swedish word for tie-dye (knytbatik), which was the word previously used for principally the same technique. During the course of this linguistic process, the concept shibori has come to represent not only something richer but also something more precise. Furthermore, it has also become more inspiring and open a concept than what the concept tie-dye (knytbatik) stood for. It is my intention to trace how the shibori concept came to Sweden at the beginning of the 1990s, how it spread within the field of textiles and also what influence this had and still has for the individual practitioner.

Article 2: ”Form theory in modern times – an orientation”
With more than sixteen years experience of having studied and taught courses in Art, Architecture and Design, I would like to ask myself the following question: What role does form theory play today? What do we mean by this word? I intend to collect and compile a register of those concepts of form that are relevant to surface and that have been brought up in texts and applied in creative processes or in the teaching of creative processes during modern times (from 1920 to 2010), their implications and also a kind of comprehensive analysis/interpretation that endeavours to see what they have treated and how.

Creative stages of the project: ”Surface events”
This part of my dissertation will include a number of applied examples, where, with different concepts of form as my point of departure, I will reflect upon my own creative process and upon existing surfaces that are either natural or the result of design work on surfaces; one of these concepts of form is the Japanese concept midare, which is based on the feeling of confusion. I aim to interpret concepts like this, and many more. Hopefully, I will also succeed in inspiring other practitioners by showing, in practice, the potential of these concepts. 

Thomas Laurien

thomas.laurien [at] hdk.gu.se
+46(0)31-786 48 86
Research student in design


Thomas Laurien

Photographer: Thorbjörn Magnusson

- (2009)

Digital print on PVB-film laminated in glass. The piece is part of the artistic research project "The Materiality of the Surface" and was shown at the exhibition with the same name at the Röhsska Museum in Gothenburg October-November 2009.
Photographer: Thomas Laurien

FEAT - the Cell (2006)

From the artistic project FEAT where I designed patterns for fabric. Five invited designers and artists then interpreted and used these fabrics and made garments for real or fictional heroes. From the left over fabric I created a replica of the Nelson Mandela cell at Robben Island. The project and the following two exhibitions in Malmö and Stockholm in 2006 and 2007 were a homage to Nelson Mandela who has always been aware of the power and tension in textiles. The project is documented at www.laurien.se
Photographer: Thomas Laurien

Open Source Yamamoto (2006)

Garment by textile designer Klara Persson as part of the project FEAT. Klara Persson created an intriguing coat by combining my fabric design [tu:] with an open source garment pattern by Yamamoto - adding textile techniques like quilting and embroidery. The project is documented at www.laurien.se

Mind Your Step | Change to Silent Mode

This video is part of the result of a research trip to Japan in October 2010. It was shot in Takaosanguchi, Kokubunji, Hachioji, Roppongi, and Aoyama in Tokyo, and Toyota-shi near Nagoya. Music by Nobuyuki Nakajima.
Photographer: Thomas Laurien

- (2008)

Two screen prints on PVB-films laminated in glass. The piece is part of the artistic research project "The Materiality of the Surface".
Photographer: Elisabeth Dunker

[kizuku kisoku] 2012

Pattern project. Hand printed on cotton in Hachioji, Japan.