Marina Castán


  • Marina Castán is an Arcintex Early Stage Researcher on the Textiles programme at the Royal College of Art. ArcInTex is a European training network for new PhD students researching and exploring the expressions of sustainable forms of future living through textile thinking in the intersection of Architecture, Fashion Design and Interaction Design. Castán's aim for the ArcInTex project is to explore the possibilities of smart textiles within the Architecture field as an adaptive and responsive system.

  • Biography

  • Marina Castán is a textile designer by background and carries out research in smart textiles focusing on the importance of the body as a core centre of the design process. Castán has an MA in New Media Art Curating from ESDi- MECAD, Ramon Llull University (2013), a Postgraduate in Design and Innovation from the Elisava School of Design, Pompeu Fabra University (2008) and a Bachelor in Textile Design from ESDi Design School, Ramon Llull University (2005).  Before joining the ArcInTex project, she was researcher and professor at Textile and Fashion Department in the ESDi Design School (Ramon Llull University) in Barcelona.

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  • Practice

  • In her aim for the ArcInTex project to explore the possibilities of the smart textiles within the Architecture field, Castán is interested in how the adaptive and responsive system is understood as a structure-space that is sensitive to some external stimuli, interacting actively with its surrounding. It can interact at different levels, micro-macro, modifying and shaping the experience to inhabit that space by suggesting new affordances that lead us to new ways of interacting with the urban settings.

  • Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes

  • Presentations, Talks and Performances


    ‘The Wearable Fashion Orchestra’ presentation at ‘Shaping (un)common grounds’, ArcInTex Symposium and Design Films: Embodied Interaction Research Techniques at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Eindhoven, October 13th to 17th

    ‘The Wearable Fashion Orchestra’ performance – exhibition at Fundación Telefónica, Madrid, December 16th, Most innovative Spanish project of 2014, The App Date Awards 2014.

    ‘The Wearable Fashion Orchestra’ performance-exhibition at FAB10, From Fab Labs to Fab Cities, Barcelona, July 5th

    Speaker in EmTech España – MIT Technology Review: ‘Research practices in the smart textiles and wearable design field’. November 12th

    Speaker in Barcelona Digital Global Congress: ‘Close to the Body’ research studio: a phenomenological approach to wearable design. Barcelona, May 29th


    Speaker in MIRA Visual Arts Festival: ‘Close to the Body research studio’. Barcelona, November 15th

    Keynote Speaker in Smart Fabrics Conference: ‘Exploring a new model to communicate research in smart textile design’. Barcelona, October 30th


    Castán, M. Rubio, G., González, M., (2015) ‘The Wearable Fashion Orchestra’. In: Kettley, S. Designing with Smart Textiles Chapter 4 (xxiii), London: Bloomsbury Press

    Jiménez, C., Favaro, J., Castán, M., Marín, J., Merino I. et al. Castán, M. (2011) ‘The Touch Project’. In: Tactile Knowledge through textiles, 48–49., Gabrovo.

    Favaro, J., Jiménez, C., Castán, M. (2010) ‘Tibi and Dabo, Process of social robots design for urban settings’, 1st Design and Innovation International Congress of Catalonia, ESDi Design School, Barcelona

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  • Awards and Grants

  • ‘The Wearable Fashion Orchestra’ performance – exhibition at Fundación Telefónica, Madrid, December 16th 2014: won Most innovative Spanish project of 2014, The App Date Awards 2014.

    International Wool Textile Organisation (I.W.T.O) Award in the concept and innovation category (Wool World Award, 2006) with the project ‘Light in Darkness’, a luminescent woven fabric for home textiles applications.

Selected work


Research interests

Castán is interested in how to design for interactive qualities in smart textiles design, how smart textiles open new opportunities in design practice and how technology can get closer to society through design. Of particular interest are Post-structuralism and New Materialism theories as a mechanism to inform design processes.  

Current and recent research

'Close to the Body' (2013)

Castán co-organised the ‘Close to the Body’ research studio, a three-week workshop about wearable design, which was a collaboration between TU/e, Eindhoven University of Technology, IAAC, the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia IAAC and ESDi, Design School. The research studio explored smart textiles as an emergent design space and proposed a new design practice that confronts the practicalities of integrating the worlds of electronics, fashion, manufacturing and design.

The Wearable Fashion Orchestra (2014) 

The project explored the possibilities of a wearable as a new way to perform contemporary dance choreography. It was a live show that merged fashion and technology to establish an intimate interaction between the wearable and the wearer, a textile orchestra that created a musical composition through contemporary dance choreography.

ESDi_ColourLab (2012–14)

Castán was member of the ESDi ColourLab between 2012 and 2014. A colour laboratory that carries out twice yearly colour forecasting from a sociological point of view, ESDi_ColourLab represents Spain within Intercolor, a non-profit organisation formed in 1963, whose members are an interdisciplinary group of colour experts, representing national associations and consultants working for global players in textiles, fashion and product design.

The Touch Project (Gabrovo, 2011)

Touch Project was an international art project that explored tactility in relation to knowledge, creativity, cultural practices and innovation in art. The project was supported by the European Cultural Foundation.