Ekaterina Feil

PIGSKIN — an unusual material study

This project is inspired by the fascination with natural materials like skin, leather, and fur. It is the result of a semester abroad at the University of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia. The Art Design course by Professor František Burian encouraged Ekaterina Feil to experiment with an unusual material - Pigskin. When she was younger, she used to watch her mother working with fur to sew caps and therefore this project incorporated her mother's knowledge. Since the skin of a pig is commonly discarded around the areas of the origin mark, Ekaterina chose to work with exactly this tattooed part of the pigskin. Her gain was to ignite a discussion within the contexts of both mass meat production and the fashion industry, to experiment, provoke, and raise questions. Why are a certain kind of leather considered beautiful and another considered disgusting? Why do we use the skin of some animals without considering the alternatives? This Project does not offer solutions, it just opens up discussions.

Idea, concept, research, practical implementation, and documentation by Ekaterina Feil. Pictures by Corinna Dumat.

IKEA-BAUHAUS Summer Residency

This is the outcome of two intense weeks spent at the third Ikea-Bauhaus summer residency program in Dessau, Germany. During the residency, Ekaterina Feil and Henriette Funke worked as a team and the program offered the possibility to look deep into the Bauhaus history and philosophy. Further, it enabled the two designers to work at the famous Bauhaus and Meisterhäuser. The Bauhaus- and the Meisterhäuser-buildings are under UNESCO world cultural heritage protection and therefore in need of being treated with the utmost respect and a lot of care. Ekaterina Feil and Henriette Funke focused on exploring contemporary design solutions for living and working within the original Bauhaus spaces, and transferring the ideas of the Bauhaus community into modern times. »How can it be possible to live and work in the listed buildings with minimal intervention?« The idea emerged to design individual, mobile, colorful and multifunctional furniture. As a base for the work wooden trestles from a DIY market were used, which were transformed into a set of portable racks, a clothes horse, a stool, or coat hangers and sitting rugs. (The) Bauhaus' history of weaving inspired the two designers immensely and invited them to experiment with fabric, colors and weaving techniques. The outcome of those two intense project weeks was exhibited at the Meisterhaus Muche-Schlemmer and published in a book called »Junges Design in den Meisterhäusern Dessau.«

Idea, concept, research, practical implementation, documentation and photography by Ekaterina Feil in cooperation with Henriette Funke.

ALTERNATIVE WEDDING — alternative wedding rings

Same-sex marriage was a topic that was discussed for quite a while, and it is still a topic searching for solutions in terms of education and global tolerance. During Ekaterina's research, she noticed that there was no recognized and established symbol for a same-sex relationship or marriage. As a result, she decided to change that. She strived for a symbol that would stand for the love and connection between two people, regardless of gender or gender identity. A symbol that stood not only for marriage, but also for a deep connection, a strong bond, and honest love. The inspiration for the symbol she chose was the meaning and symbolism of the anchor, something which is understood almost universally as signifying »settling« or »anchoring« down to something or into a safe harbor. Wedding rings are the symbol of unity and marriage. Considering this, Ekaterina wondered whether the ring could be remastered to show modern bonds in an unconventional way. Her goal was to inject the topic with a social context, to break existing norms, to go beyond what is decent and experiment. What if the new wedding rings would be necklaces attracted to each other by magnetic force and pull towards each other when the people who wear them move closer to each other? The final outcome leaves possibilities for future development open. The symbol can be used as a tattoo; a statement; a confession; a demonstration; activism or simply as a form of individual love or self-expression.

Idea, concept, research, practical implementing, documentation and photography by Ekaterina Feil.

T-RACK'S — metal construction shelves

What started as a simple interior solution for a tiny kitchen has slowly grown into a popular industrial-style shelf business. This Project describes an up-cycling process of discarded reinforcement grids, found on a local construction yard being transformed by Ekaterina into another kind of multifunctional furniture. These metal construction shelves can be used in various ways. For instance as clothing racks, plant growers, display units, and as a room divider. The construction is a simple design system of inlay-boards to make the grids mobile, moveable and user-friendly. An adjustable system makes it possible to customize the shelves accordingly. Materials used besides the rusty metal can vary from cheaper MDF to valuable repurposed wood.

Idea, concept, research, practical implementation, documentation and photography by Ekaterina Feil.


In the 19th century, during the Biedermeier period, a tender tradition of wearing jewelry made from hair of your loved ones existed. Worldwide, hair also holds significant symbolism, meaning, and power. In Shamanism, hair stands in a powerful connection with our intuition. It is seen as an advanced sensor; an extended nerve system; a very personal and powerful gift. Inspired by the Biedermeier gestures, Ekaterina decided to revive and modernize memorial jewelry with real human hair for a project about mortality and death. Her focus was to help people to cope with their bereavements by creating something with a deeply emotional and personal value. It is one of the most personal, private, and individual materials, which evokes a strong symbolism for the carrier. Giving your hair to someone else would therefore be a very deep act of trust, faith, and love. During her research, she faced the fact that nowadays hair was not considered as precious anymore but mostly seen as weird, disgusting, or even macabre. As a result, the idea came to life to seal and preservative the hair behind a layer of Crystal-resin. Additionally, Ekaterina Feil used Copper or brass as the base materials, to be able to see the aging process through the patina. The final piece of jewelry is a very individual companion - a powerful symbol with its own emotional character.

Idea, concept, research, practical implementing, documentation and photography by Ekaterina Feil.


This is a project of contrast. It's a combination of the dull, gray concrete of a big city, and the wild greenness of nature. Concrete is a stiff, strong and inflexible material. It is nearly unbreakable and stands for immutability. By combining a massive geometric cuboid reaching 1.75 m height with one light bulb socket and several little tubes to attach and replace branches, flowers, or other natural goods, Ekaterina aimed to express the two worlds we are living in. Big cities are our home now, but the longing to be in nature is still deep within us. Rough and cold,but also vivid and wild. The final object is combining and underlining the two worlds we are part of. The outcome of this project is a still ongoing production of the artwork in different sets, shapes and sizes.

Idea, concept, research, practical implementation, documentation and photography by Ekaterina Feil.

A SPACE FOR US — Re-thinking public spaces for the common good

With the impact of months of lockdowns, quarantines and months of staying at home, it became even more important - especially in big cities - to rely on a well-designed urban environment to be able to stay sane. The time we spend outside is not only nurturing, it is also an important tool for our mental and physical health. The right to be outside, to feel secure, and to fulfill simple pleasures, such as enjoying the sun, socializing, walking the streets, or just simply »getting out« was never before so urgent and necessary. Since space, especially in and around big cities, is a profitable product, the research of Ekaterina Feil's Master's thesis lead her to question the norms around public spaces and the right to the city. Who decides how much space who gets? Where are we allowed to do what? And how can that be improved? How much space is dedicated to humans and how much is handed over to cars and other infrastructures? Well-organized public spaces are rare, and most urban furniture is not made to be comfortable. It became Ekaterina Feil's aim to raise awareness for this topic, to bring people closer together, to inspire, to create places of interaction and exchange that make it possible to honor, share and celebrate public space and street life anew. Therefore, it is necessary to design with the human scale, the public’s participation and creates spaces that can improve the standards of living beyond the personal housing situation. Spaces that are welcoming and comfortable for humans, that invite you to sit, rest, meet, eat, enjoy, create, connect or even sleep. Places that generate and activate urban life and community. This project is a prototype, a design interaction, and a public experiment that simply offers extra space. It is a symbolic outdoor living spatiality in the size of a small car. Consequently, it can fit in every parking lot. It shows the dimensions of a room and can be moved around finding sunnier, more crowded, more lively, or more quiet locations. It offers multifunctional uses and can be utilized in different ways. A place to stay, to play, to sell, to exhibit, to share meals, or just to come together. Simple and user-friendly, designed with love and empathy for the needs of many — us.

Idea, concept, research, practical implementation, documentation and photography by Ekaterina Feil.

Ekaterina Feil

Ekaterina Feil, was born in Semey, Kazakhstan and grew up in a small town in Eastern Germany. She speaks German, Russian and English fluent and studied BA Integrated Design in Dessau, Germany and MA Design +Change in Växjö, Sweden. She works multidisciplinary and conceptual, mostly as a freelance social designer with a focus on sustainability, interdisciplinary, equality and crafts. Ekaterina is based between Berlin and Leipzig in Germany.


  • 2014 Semester Abroad at the University of Fine Arts and Design, Bratislava, Slovakia.
  • 2015 Ikea-Bauhaus Summer Residency, Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, Dessau, Germany.
  • 2016 Bachelor of Arts Integrates Design, Anhalt University of Applied Sciences, Dessau, Germany.
  • 2021 Master's of Art in Design + Change — In Progress, Linnaeus University Växjö, Sweden.


  • Upcomming
  • August 2021 — NORDES Conference, Kolding, Denmark — »One Squaremeter / Steve on the bench«
  • Ongoing
  • 2021 Online Exhibition — Department of Design Graduation Exhibition 2021 @Linnaeus University — »A Space for us«
  • past
  • 2020 brau.ART, Dessau, Germany — »Wir hoffen es ist ihnen Bequem“ in collaboration with Henriette Funke
  • 2019 Italienska Palatset, Växjö, Sweden — »My mothers skills«
  • 2019 Kunstpromenaden Dessau, Germany — »Manifesto«
  • 2016 Projektionsfläche Wolfen, Germany — »Was tun« Solo-exhibition with Henriette Funke
  • 2016 Graduation Exhibition, Bachelor of Arts Integrates Design, Anhalt University of Applied Sciences, Dessau, Germany.
  • 2015 Ikea-Bauhaus Summer Residency Exhibition in the Meisterhaus Muche-Schlemmer,Dessau, Germany - in collaboration with Henriette Funke
  • 2014 Spaces of Uncertainty, Hungarian University of Fine Arts in Budapest, Hungary - in collaboration with Jan Salanský
  • 2014 Semester Graduation Exhibition University of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia.
  • 2014 brau.Art, Dessau, Germany - »Betonarbeiten«
  • 2014 P.A.R, Post Keller, Döbeln, Germany.