TaDA – Textile and Design Alliance is a cultural promotion programme. Its goal is to promote artistic discussion with the eastern Swiss textile and design culture and thus strengthen the regional identity. A connection to practice and to the textile companies established in the region is a central component and fruitful for both sides. TaDA offers on an annual basis a work stay in Switzerland to six to eight national and international personalities. The residents develop innovative projects in the fields of art, design, architecture, literature, the performing arts or in transdisciplinary contexts. As programme partners textile and design companies in Eastern Switzerland make their know-how and technology available to the artists, thus giving the residents an opportunity to do practical and artistic work and carry out applied research. On their part the partners benefit from the creative exchange with the art practitioners invited. On the occasion of the annual event "TaDA Spinnerei" the work results are presented to the public and discussed.

Textile Industry

From the late 16th century the textile industry developed into the key economic driver in the areas of today’s cantons of St.Gallen, Thurgau, Appenzell Ausserrhoden and Innerrhoden. It reached its high point in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Initially, spreading from the city of St.Gallen, the production of fabrics in the form of home weaving spread from the city of St.Gallen into the surrounding countryside, mainly to Ausserrhoden and the Toggenburg. With hand embroidery, Innerrhoden and parts of Vorarlberg were included from 1780 onwards, and with the mechanisation of embroidery parts of Thurgau from 1865. In the early 20th century St.Gallen Spitzen (embroidery) represented the most important Swiss export product. Lack of demand for embroidery after the First World War caused Eastern Switzerland to lapse into a severe economic crisis. With new production techniques, especially in knitting and hosiery, as well as textile finishing and technical textiles, the industry maintained its importance until around 1970. In the globalisation that followed certain Swiss companies have managed to hold their ground, thanks to their quality and spirit of innovation.


The TaDA cultural promotion programme was jointly launched by the Cantons of Appenzell Ausserrhoden, St.Gallen and Thurgau. The trusteeship members are the three Offices for Culture.


Martin Leuthold
Textile designer

Following his apprenticeship as an embroidery designer, Martin joined the textile company Jakob Schlaepfer in 1973. From 1989 to 2018, he was Creative Director and a member of the management board at Schlaepfer, where he and his team designed over 1,000 fabrics for the fashion world every year. With his exclusive fabric creations, he plays a decisive role in determining what will be considered a new fashion trend tomorrow. In 2004 he designed the exhibition “Bling Bling” in the Landesmuseum Zurich for the 100th anniversary of the company. He has been awarded countless prizes for his work, including the Swiss Grand Prix of Design from the Federal Office of Culture and the renowned American Cotton Design Award. Today, he works in his private studio.

Claudia Mareis
Professor of Design and History of Knowledge, Humboldt University of Berlin

Prof. Dr. Claudia Mareis is a Swiss design researcher and cultural historian. After initial training in Graphic Design, she studied Design, Art and Cultural Studies in Zurich, Berlin and Linz. Since 2021, she has been Professor of Design and History of Knowledge at the Department of Cultural History and Theory at the Humboldt University of Berlin and the co-director of the Cluster of Excellence »Matters of Activity. Image Space Material«. Besides she is a lecturer at the Institute for Experimental Design and Media Cultures at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel. Her research interests include history, theory and methodology of design in the 20th century, knowledge cultures in design, experimental design and media practices, cultural history of creativity, design and material politics.

Markus Müller

Markus Müller’s main artistic interest is in the field of spatial representation. His work, examining the potential of craftsmanship as an image and strategy for today’s society, has been shown in various institutions in Switzerland and abroad, including Kunstmuseum Basel, Kunsthaus Glarus, Néon – diffuseur d’art contemporain in Lyon and Cafe Gallery Projects London. Permanent interventions in public space – whether in Basel, St.Gallen, Winterthur or Teufen – allow him to introduce this topic into the daily routine of an urban environment. Markus Müller’s work has been honoured with the Swiss Art Award, the Manor Art Prize or membership of the Swiss Institute in Rome. Since 2010 he has been teaching in the study programme at the Fine Arts Department of Berne University of the Arts.

René Rossi
Scientist Empa

René Rossi has been working for over 25 years as a researcher at Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology. He studied applied physics and was awarded his PhD in Technical Sciences at ETH Zurich. Since 2003, René Rossi has been leading the Laboratory for Biomimetic Membranes and Textiles at Empa, an interdisciplinary group of around 40 researchers. He is lecturer for Thermal Physiology and Sports Textiles at ETH Zurich and Guest Professor at the University of Haute-Alsace in Mulhouse, France. His research focus is smart textiles, in particular fibre-based sensors for body monitoring as well as hybrid fibres for controlled substance release.

Tanja Scartazzini
Head of cultural office St.Gallen
Trusteeship Representative

Tanja Scartazzini studied law at the University of Zurich and the Université de Genève (lic.iur). Subsequently, she studied visual communication at the Zurich University of Arts, specializing in the theory of design and art. After a variety of professional experience in the art and gallery sector, she became Head of the Kunst am Bau (architectural art) unit at the Canton of Zurich’s Building Department in 2004. In 2018, she merged this with the Art Collection unit and was appointed Director of the new unit. Since August 1, 2021, Tanja Scartazzini has been Head of the Canton of St.Gallen’s Office of Culture.

Rebecca C. Schnyder

Rebecca C. Schnyder works as a freelance writer in St.Gallen. She writes drama, lyrics, prose and radio plays. She has been honoured with numerous awards for her work, including the Prize for Dramatic Writing by the Swiss Authors Society SSA, the jury prize at the “SALZ!” Authors Festival at the Lüneburg Theatre, the audience prize at the playwright competition of the theatres of St.Gallen and Konstanz, and most recently the advancement award of the St.Gallen Cultural Foundation. In 2013/2014 Rebecca C. Schnyder took part in the “Dramenprozessor” at the Winkelwiese Theatre in Zurich, and in 2015 she was invited with her play “Alles trennt” to the Heidelberger Stückemarkt. Her first novel “Alles ist besser in der Nacht” was published by Dörlemann Verlag in Zurich in 2016. 

Peter Trinkl
CSO Saurer AG

Peter Trinkl is an engineer and has an MBA. He is Chief Strategy Officer and CIO of the Saurer Group, and has over ten years’ experience in the textile machine industry. He is currently responsible for the strategic orientation, business development and digitalisation of the Saurer Group. Previously he worked in the telecommunications and other high-tech industries. He has extensive experience in heading blue chip and start-up companies as well as being a member of various boards. Formerly he held global management positions at Siemens, e.On, Cablecom, Orange and Swisscom. In addition he was a partner in an international Merger & Acquisitions firm, and Advisor for a Venture Capital Fund.

Roman Wild
Curator Science and Research Projects, Textilmuseum St.Gallen

Roman Wild is a historian and curator. He studied general history, economics and sociology at the University of Zurich. From 2011 to 2015, he worked as a research assistant at the Research Center for Social and Economic History. He then spent six years researching and teaching at the Product & Textile Competence Center of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. His most important publications include the economic history dissertation Auf Schritt und Tritt. Der schweizerische Schuhmarkt 1918–1948 (published in 2019), and the design history book project Luxuriöse Verflechtungen. Eine transnationale Geschichte der Zürcher Seidenindustrie (in preparation). Since 2021 Roman Wild has been working at Textilmuseum St. Gallen and is curator there for textile-related (historical) research and exhibition projects.


Brubo GmbH manufactures and sells high-quality cottons. Fabrics are woven, sheared and made up, primarily for export, in the company's production facility in Speicher. Brubo has amassed decades of experience in the Scherli technique, in which it now specialises. Since early 2019, the company has been instrumental in reviving an aspect of local cultural heritage, Appenzell satin stitch weaving, a tradition that had been somewhat forgotten in the region. By investing in new technology, the company can once again manufacture satin stitch patterns.


Empa is the interdisciplinary Swiss research institute of the ETH Division for Material Sciences and Technology. As a bridge between research and practical application, it develops innovative solutions in the fields of nano-structured, “smart” materials, environmental, energy and sustainable building technologies, biotechnologies and medical technologies. Together with industry partners, Empa turns research findings into marketable innovations.


Established in 1919, Filtex AG remains in the hands of the founding family. As a leading retail and production company, the tradition-rich firm supplies its customers worldwide with fine cotton goods, novelties, embroidery, home textiles and raw materials. The company’s core values are exceptional aesthetics, outstanding quality and innovative design.


As a small business in Thal, Lobra AG specialises in the refining and manufacture of a great variety of films and sheeting. Using a wide range of basic films, all kinds of sequins can be punched out and overprinted using dye sublimation printing.


For over 20 years, Rigotex AG in Toggenburg with its some twenty employees has been developing, producing and selling high-quality gastronomy and home textiles. They are produced in the company’s own factory on eight Sulzer Rüti looms. In addition to durable, affordable products for customers in the catering sector, rigotex also offers customised home and decor textiles.


Created in 1853 in St.Gallen by Franz Saurer as an iron foundry, Saurer is a leading global technology company with a focus on machines, components and software for processing fibres and yarns. The long-established firm now consists of two segments: Spinning Solutions, offering high-quality, technologically-advanced and customer-specific automated solutions for processing staple fibres from bale to yarn; and Saurer Technologies, focusing on yarn and embroidery solutions as well as special components in the field of special bearings and polymer solutions for the industry.


In 1868, Rudolph Schoeller established one of Switzerland's first worsted yarn spinning mills in Schaffhausen. A few years later, he bought another cloth mill in Sevelen. Innovative fabrics like polyamide and elastane arrived in Europe from the US in the 1930s; Schoeller embraced this trend and began to manufacture the first stretch fabrics himself. Since then, Schoeller has been developing and producing extremely functional textiles and innovative textile technologies. In addition to textiles used in sportswear, workwear and leisurewear, these also include protective textiles and textiles used for medical and technical applications.


The Sitterwerk Foundation, which houses an art library, materials archive and studio house, is located on an industrial site in the Sitter Valley near St.Gallen and in direct proximity to the Kesselhaus Josephsohn, Kunstgiesserei St.Gallen AG and the photo laboratory. This closely knit network is further enriched by the production of art and craft and by the related research, preservation and educational activities conducted here.


Startfeld is the network for innovations and start-ups around Säntis. In all phases of innovation, Startfeld supports ambitious founders as well as established SMEs that are open to impulses and drive new things forward. Visionary founders benefit from a comprehensive support programme at Startfeld - from free initial advice to financing. At Startfeld, innovative ideas are given a real chance. To this end, they make their network available and support start-ups with sound know-how.


Founded in 1978, Textilcolor AG is based in Sevelen in St.Gallen’s Rhine Valley. As a specialist in textile chemistry, Textilcolor is a byword for the development, manufacture and sale of textile auxiliaries, textile dyes, pigments and optical brighteners. With its expertise and technical advice the company supports its customers in all fields of textile manufacturing and finishing.


As one of the last manual screen printing companies in Switzerland, Textildruckerei Arbon has been producing premium-quality hand- and flat-film prints on its 50-metre print tables since 1903. This micro business is dedicated almost entirely to the manufacture of niche products, whether these are the renowned traditional Swiss linen calendars or the handcrafted fabrics for international catwalks. The textile printing company also has an archive of approximately 3,000 screens.


Founded in 1878, the Textile Museum of St.Gallen houses one of Switzerland’s most important textile collections. Woven materials and embroideries from every corner of the globe, sample books, sketches and photographs illustrate the history of the Swiss textile industry, shaped by regional pride and international influence. In addition to the show “Fabrikanten & Manipulanten” about the history of textiles in Eastern Switzerland, the Textile Museum regularly presents special exhibitions on selected topics from the fields of textile history, fashion and design.


Tisca, a family firm founded in 1940 and still located in the village of Bühler, is today a group that operates internationally. It develops high-quality textiles for exterior and interior furnishings, especially carpet flooring, sports flooring and textiles for the transport sector. In so doing the manifold possibilities of textiles, such as impact on air humidity, dust and bacteria cushioning effect, or heat and sound insulation are constantly exploited and developed.


Thanks for the support


Appenzell Ausserrhoden


Dr. Fred Styger Stiftung
Ernst Göhner Stiftung
Ikea Stiftung Schweiz
Susanne und Martin Knechtli-Kradolfer-Stiftung
Metrohm Stiftung
Steinegg Stiftung
WaliDad Stiftung