Knowledge atlas Science

Kim Cordes, „ReFib“ – Textile Refinement from Recycled Silk


The interdisciplinary starting point of Kim Cordes’ work is to create aesthetically appealing textile design from silk textile waste and combine it with other materials. “ReFib - Recycling Fibroins as Textile Refinement” opens the exciting field for in-depth research with silk fibroins. By combining research and design, experiments are developed that are intended to make the scientific findings tangible and usable. On the one hand, visions are to be shown, but also the more efficient and diverse use of the materials is to be researched, made visible, and used. On the other hand, illustrative experiments show that these visions can also be implemented. The aim is to keep the exclusive material silk in the product cycle for as long as possible. In the BioLab of Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle, research was conducted into how fabric remnants can be recycled and used for textile design, for example. Finally, it was possible to silken local wool with ReFib.

Name of Field in the local language
Transfer of Science-design-application, Textile Research, Economics
Area of Expertise
The design perspective of Kim Cordes as a textile designer focuses on researching which of the special properties of silk remain in a recycling process: Can the optical shine and the haptics of the original silk be restored or transferred to other materials? How can the recycled silk be used in combination with other materials, such as local wool. Can the silkening of wool expand the range of applications? In various processes, including textile printing, the dissolved silk was applied to wool yarn, wool fabric, and knits.
Scientists / Scientific team
The research is in the hands of Kim Cordes, who uses the laboratory and technical facilities of the university for this purpose and seeks partners within and outside the university depending on the research questions and results. These include the ITM Dresden, Institute for Textile Machinery and Textile High-Performance Materials Technology, as one of the world's leading university research institutions in the field of textile technology; the DTNW North-West; the German Textile Research Center North-West Krefeld; and the STFI, Saxon Textile Research Institute Chemnitz.
Location, Institution, Website
Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle, Kim Cordes;, Link to website
Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle, Textile Design Project Manager: Kim Cordes Kim Cordes (he/him) Conceptual Textile Design Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle Neuwerk 7 D-06108 Halle (Saale). e-mail: phone: +49 151 156 582 93
Type of Institution
The university, founded in 1915, is one of the largest art schools in Germany, It offers 20 art and design academic courses in two departments. One of them is the Textile Design course. Textile design poses conceptual tasks that, against the background of societal demands for design, must meet practical requirements. This includes historical references, current references, as well as visionary ideas. On the other hand, the study program demands very detailed specialist expertise in all disciplines touching the surface in order to be able to work on the tasks in a differentiated manner.

Laboratory and research space
Rooms of the Textile Design course with various workshops, including for weaving, knitting, printing, and dyeing. Additional biochemical research laboratory (BioLab) on the campus. Various workshops for metal, plastics, and woodworking.
Materials and equipment
Silk remnants (supplied by a Leipzig tailoring workshop). Wool from local sheep. Other textiles.
Technology / Tools / Machines
Laboratory equipment. Chemicals (calcium chloride, ethanol) and water for dissolving silk.
Research Methods / Processes
Design-driven research according to MDTD - Material Driven Textile Design.

Most impactful project
The project is an ongoing process in which the goal is not one solution, but rather the development of various follow-up projects with different partners. This includes cooperation with network partners, such as the joint work with the Cammann-Gobelinmanufaktur [Cammann Tapestry Manufactory] in Niederwiesa OT Braunsdorf, which is currently experimenting with the breeding of its own silkworms. A research project has been initiated together with various industrial partners and the Saxon Textile Research Institute Chemnitz (STFI).

Awards, certifications, or scientific recognition
December 2023, awarded the "Best Poster Award" at the International Technical Textile Conference in Aachen, Dresden, and Denkendorf, in Dresden. November 2023, awarded the Saxon State Prize for Design in the Product Design category in the industrial goods sector/junior.