Portrait of Professor Alex Coles Professor Alex Coles

View research degree topics that Professor Alex Coles might supervise

a.j.coles@hud.ac.uk | 01484 471442


As the first university professor of Transdisciplinary Studies Coles is drawn to the emergent interface between art, design and architecture.

This interface is explored through the written word in the multiple-volume book series The Transdisciplinary Studio. Volume 1 was released in Spring 2012 by Sternberg Press, Berlin, and focused on Olafur Eliasson, Jorge Pardo, Konstantin Grcic and Åbäke. Volume 2 is currently at the pre-production stage.

With the founding of EP in 2013 Coles pursued the transdisciplinary at an editorial level. EP is the first critically underpinned series of publications that fluidly moves between art, design, and architecture. The series creates a discursive platform between popular magazines (“single play”) and academic journals (“long play”) by introducing the notion of the “extended play” into publishing: with thematically edited pocket books as median. EP1 ‘The Italian Avant-Garde: 1968-1976’ was released in 2013 and received strong reviews in the mainstream press (New York Times, Times Literary Supplement), specialist arts press (Domus, Icon) and academic journals (Journal of Design History, Design and Culture) alike (see Esteem). EP2 ‘Design Fiction’ was published in 2016, and EP3 ‘Post-Craft’ is to be released in 2017.

Research and Scholarship

Coles’ investigation into the dynamic relationship between disciplines in the arts commenced more than a decade ago with the book DesignArt released by Tate Publishing in 2005. This was followed by the critical anthology Design and Art (MIT Press/Whitechapel, 2007). Both books triggered exhibitions and conferences on the subject of “designart,” with Coles being widely acknowledged as leading research into this new field. The catalogues and published proceedings from these exhibitions and conferences all heavily cite the author and led to designart becoming a growing area of practice and academic research (see Esteem).

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Coles, A (2017) ‘Styling knowledge’. In: Styling knowledge, 22 February 2017, Design Academy Eindhoven

Coles, A (2017) ‘DesignArt: introduction’. In: On Things as Ideas. Berlin, DE and Luxembourg: Sternberg Press and MUDAM, Luxembourg. . ISBN 978-3-95679-243-4


Coles, A. and Maasen, L. (2016) ‘Design fiction’. In: In Need Of..., 28 October 2016, Design Academy Eindhoven

Coles, A (2016) ‘Art into architecture’. In: Blurred boundaries: when does art end and architecture begin?, 11 October 2016, RIBA, London

Coles, A (2016) Design Fiction . EP. Berlin, Germany: Sternberg Press. ISBN 9783956790485

Coles, A (2016) ‘Interview: Umberto Eco’. In: Design Fiction. Berlin, Germany: Sternberg Press. . ISBN 978-3956790485

Coles, A (2016) ‘The art/architecture ping-pong’. In: Unspoken Spaces: Studio Olafur Eliasson. London, UK: Thames and Hudson. . ISBN 978-0500343135

Coles, A (2016) ‘Interview with Jorge Pardo’. In: Talking Art. London, UK: Ridinghouse. .

Coles, A (2016) ‘Interview with Michelangelo Pistoletto’. In: Talking Art. London, UK: Ridinghouse. .

Coles, A (2016) ‘Interview with Ryan Gander’. In: Talking Art. London, UK: Ridinghouse. .

Coles, A (2016) ‘Interview with Andrea Zittel’. In: Talking Art. London, UK: Ridinghouse. .


Coles, A (2014) ‘Introduction.’. In: Robert Stadler: Invasive Shifting Absurd Exercise. Paris, France: Editions de La Martinière. . ISBN 9782732461007

Coles, A., Doze, P., Krzentowski, D. and Rubini, C. (2014) The Complete Designers' Lights II . Zurich, Switzerland: JRP Ringier/Galerie kreo. ISBN 978-3-03764-356-3

Coles, A. and Gfader, V. (2014) ‘EP: Styling Knowledge’. In: Pedestrian Subjectivities, MA General Theory Forum, April 27, 2014, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London


Coles, A (2013) ‘The Italian Avant Garde 1968–76’. In: Pier Vittorio Aureli, Alex Coles, Catharine Rossi & Verina Gfader, The Italian Avant Garde 1968–76, 12th December 2013, London, Architectural Association, School of Architecture

Coles, A (2013) ‘Tecoh’. In: Tecoh, 18 October 2013, Tate Modern, London

Coles, A (2013) ‘EP: A Less Speculative Seminar’. In: EP: A Less Speculative Seminar, 2-4 July 2013, Jan Van Eyck Akademie, Maastricht, Netherlands

Coles, A (2013) ‘Disciplinary Connectivity and the Studio’. In: The Productive Lawrence Alloway, 21 June 2013, Tate Britain

Coles, A (2013) ‘EP: A Speculative Seminar’. In: EP: A Speculative Seminar, 21-22 May 2013, Jan Van Eyck Akademie

Coles, A. and Rossi, C. (2013) The Radical Italian Avant-Garde, 1968-1976 . Berlin: Sternberg Press. ISBN 9783943365498

Coles, A. and Rossi, C. (2013) EP 1: The Radical Italian Avant-Garde 1968-1976 . EP. Berlin: Sternberg Press. ISBN 9783943365498

Coles, A (2013) ‘The Independent Group: A Transdisciplinary Approach’. In: Parallel of Art & Life: A Conference on the Independent Group, 25 - 26 April 2013, ICA/University of Middlesex, London

Coles, A (2013) ‘On the Studio’. In: 'On the Studio': Writer's Talk by Alex Coles, 23 April 2013, Spike Island, Bristol

Coles, A (2013) ‘Michelangelo Pistoletto: The Minus ManArt Monthly (365), pp. 1-4. ISSN 0142-6702

Coles, A. and Rossi, C. (2013) ‘Interview: Prof. Alex Coles and Dr. Catharine Rossi on EPCorridor 8 .

Coles, A. and Rossi, C. (2013) ‘Culture Now: The Italian Avant-Garde: 1968-1976: Carlo Caldini, Martino Gamper in Conversation with Catharine Rossi and Alex Coles’. In: Culture Now: The Italian Avant-Garde: 1968-1976, 31 May 2013, ICA, London

Coles, A (2013) ‘Art HousesICON Magazine (119), pp. 108-115.

Coles, A (2013) ‘Display as Mechanism and the Mechanisms of DisplayLucy Williams: Pavilion , pp. 7-10.


Coles, A (2012) ‘Beyond DesignArt and into the Transdisciplinary Studio’. In: Art and/or Design, 5 December 2012, Weissenhof Institute, Stuttgart

Coles, A (2012) ‘What I Write About When I Write About the Studio’. In: The Future Studio, 16 November 2012, De Hallen Haarlem, Grote Markt 16, The Netherlands

Coles, A (2012) ‘A pilot for a series that may never happenRadar , 1 (3), pp. 11-15. ISSN 2049-4327

Coles, A (2012) ‘Culture Now : Alex Coles in conversation with Ryan Gander, Abake and Michael Marriott’. In: Culture Now Talks, 13th July 2012, Institute of Contemporary Arts

Coles, A (2012) ‘The transdisciplinary studio : Art Salon : Art Basel : in conversation with Konstantin Grcic and Martin Boyce’. In: Art Basel Conversations, 17th June 2012, Art Basel

Coles, A (2012) ‘Two Examples of User Interface Furniture Design’. In: Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec: Bivouac. Paris: Centre Pompidou-Metz. . ISBN 9782359830163

Coles, A (2012) The Transdisciplinary Studio . Berlin: Sternberg Press. ISBN 9781934105962

Coles, A (2012) ‘The parallax view : interview with Jorge Pardo’. In: David Adjaye: Authoring: Re-placing Art and Architecture. : Lars Muller. . ISBN 9783037782828


Coles, A (2011) ‘Happenstance : Ryan Gander interviewed by Alex ColesArt Monthly , pp. 1-5. ISSN 0142-6702

Coles, A (2011) ‘Light as medium’. In: Complete Designers Lights 1950-1980. : JRP Ringier. pp. 360-365. ISBN 9783037641996

Coles, A (2011) ‘Fascination with lacquer’. In: Konstantin Grcic - champion. : Couleurs Contemporaines. pp. 13-18. ISBN 9782915837872

Coles, A (2011) ‘A-Z Andrea Zittel interviewed by Alex ColesArt Monthly (343), pp. 1-4. ISSN 0142-6702

Coles, A (2011) ‘American spirit - exhibition catalogue essay’. In: Jorge Pardo. : Richter Verlag. . ISBN 9783941263031


Coles, A (2010) ‘The parallax view : Jorge Pardo interviewed by Alex ColesArt Monthly (339). ISSN 0142-6702

Coles, A (2010) ‘Stepping in time/over time with Martin Creed’. In: Down Over Up. : Fruitmarket Gallery. pp. 66-89. ISBN 9780947912895

Coles, A (2010) ‘It's Hard to Find a Good Theory of Furniture’. In: A Good Chair is a Good Chair. : Ikon Gallery. pp. 97-113. ISBN 9781904864653

Coles, A (2010) ‘Jorge Pardo’. In: Critical forum, March 2010, Royal College of Art

Coles, A (2010) ‘DesignartArt Monthly (334), p. 7. ISSN 0142-6702

Coles, A (2010) ‘Design = Art?’. In: Design = Art?, Thursday 28 October 2010, Ikon, Lecture Theatre, School of Art, Birmingham Institute of Art and Design


Coles, A (2009) ‘Design Real seminar’. In: Design Real Seminars, 12th December 2009, Serpentine Gallery London

Coles, A (2009) ‘Simplicity, purity and openness : interview with Dieter RamsFinancial times .

Coles, A (2009) ‘Review - Martin Creed : work no 1020, Lilian Baylis Studio, LondonFinancial times .

Coles, A (2009) ‘The DesignArt Phenomenon’. In: Telling tales symposium, 16th October 2009, Victoria and Albert Museum London

Coles, A (2009) ‘Review - An alternative fashion week experience : Andrea ZittelFinancial times .


Coles, A (2008) ‘DesignArt : the kernal of product design’. In: Project VITRA. : Birkhäuser. . ISBN 9783764385934

Coles, A () ‘Yucatan’. In: Transforming Place: Site and Locality in Contemporary Art, 18th October 2013, Tate Modern, London

Coles, A () ‘Editing, styling, directing’. In: Design Fiction: The Linguistic Turn, 26 April 2017, Vilém Flusser Archiv, Berlin

Coles, A. and Gander, G. () ‘Interview: The artists have the keys: Two Willow Road’. In: The Artists have the keys: Exhibition Catalogue. Hampstead, UK: The National Trust. .




Lees-Maffei G, ‘The Italian Avant-Garde’, The Design Journal, Bloomsbury, Vol. 17, Issue 3, pp. 473-478.

Merjian, Ara H, , ‘Book Review’, Journal of Design History, Oxford, Vol. 27, Issue 2, March, 2014, pp.195-196.

Foot, John. 'Review of EP: Volume 1,' Times Literary Supplement (21 June 2013), 27.

Gamper, M “Best in the Group: Critics and Designers Pick the Highlights of 2013”, Financial Times (30 March 2013): http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/ae23efce-96c7-11e2-a77c-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2PlY9IEXE

Parnell, Steve. 'The Italian Avant-Garde,' Icon 122: Future 50 (August 2013), 85.

Rawsthorn, A 'Political Unrest of '68 Still Reverberates', The New York Times / The International Herald Tribune (26 May 2013): http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/27/arts/27iht-design27.html?pagewanted=all

Research Degree Supervision

Enterprise Activities


Kingston University, £1.8k for EP3 ‘Post-Craft’

Japan Endowment Foundation, London, £2.2k for EP4 ‘Frozen Japanese’

Creative Industries Fund, Netherlands, £10k for EP2 ‘Design Fiction’

La Vaca Independiente, Mexico City, £10k for conference ‘Transforming Place: Site and Locality in Contemporary Art’, Tate Modern, October 18
La Vaca Independiente, Mexico City, £8k for book ‘Jorge Pardo: Tecoh’

La Vaca Independiente, Mexico City, $50,000 for ‘Jorge Pardo in the Yucatan’