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PHD-DESIGN  2000

PHD-DESIGN 2000

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Subject:

Design plus Research - international conference

From:

silvia pizzocaro <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Wed, 24 May 2000 12:17:49 -0700

Content-Type:

multipart/alternative

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (119 lines) , text/enriched (156 lines)

Design plus Research
18-20 May, 2000
International conference
Politecnico di Milano


The Milano conference "Design Plus Research" was held on May 18-20, 
2000 at Politecnico di Milano.

It brought more one hundred and fifty people from culturally and 
geographically different contexts to debate about a common issue: the 
relation between the activity of research and industrial design.
Participants from about twenty countries met at the campus of 
Politecnico di Milano to establish a ground for this debate, aspiring 
to build the basis for a culture of research in industrial design.

While the theme of the definition of design research may have 
provided the linear trajectory sustaining the contributions of the 
about 80 speakers, it is an articulated web that emerges when 
exploring either the different acceptions and models elaborated along 
heterogeneous cultural lines or the multiple perspectives coalesced 
around the need to articulate what makes industrial design research 
different from (or similar to) other forms of research.

The conference had no other declared intention than offering a milieu 
of expression to this emergent dimension.

As a parallel concern, the initiative was ideally sustained by the 
strongly felt need to recognize and to nurture a scientific 
community, thus following the path indicated by a number of 
conferences that already marked the end of an era of separations, 
from the Ohio conference on doctoral education held at Columbus, USA, 
to the forthcoming "Foundations for the future" conference, scheduled 
for next July 9-12 at La Clusatz, France.

All the aspects of the "Design plus Research" conference were 
developed within the activities of the PhD programme of Industrial 
Design at Politecnico di Milano. The European Commission, Research 
DG, Human Potential Programme, High-Level Scientific Conferences, 
promoted and supported the initiative as a Euroconference.

Tomas Maldonado (Politecnico di Milano), Ezio Manzini (Politecnico di 
Milano) and Victor Margolin (University of Illinois at Chicago) were 
the members of the active scientific committee of reviewers.

Silvia Pizzocaro (Politecnico di Milano) was the chair of  the 
conference organizing committee.

The final statements of the conference are reported here for information.


Design (plus) Research
Themes from the Milan Conference
Final statements

We live today in a complex world and everything we design reflects 
this complexity. In this framework, the concepts of design and design 
activity assume an increasing variety of meanings.

The discussion of how design culture faces this transformation 
remains open, but we observe some basic propositions emerging from 
the discussion. These are related to the role of design research in 
generating a solid ground for discussing design and design activities.

1. In its most general definition, design is the conception and 
planning of products, processes, systems and services. Design 
research, in its most general definition, investigates "what and how 
to design" and "how design is done, has been done and might be done."

2. A more specific definition of  "how design is done, has been done 
and might be done," involves generating knowledge to develop and 
analyse new products, processes, systems and services. This knowledge 
can also be used to reconfigure existing systems.

The challenge of  "what and how to design" is to create research 
programmes aimed at producing "semi-finished design research 
results", which are not  focused on a specific project, but rather 
are intended to produce design knowledge that can be used as needed.

Both of these research activities properly appear as forms of 
generalisable design knowledge, which must be considered in the 
framework of the new social and organisational context. In this 
context, design activity occours as a "flexible network" involving a 
variable group of actors who are interconnected according to needs 
and opportunities.

3. In this scenario, the design process can take place through 
parallel activities. Precisely because the speed of design activity 
is increasing, it is vital to take the time for through design 
research. In other words, it is necessary and possible to tackle 
complex questions, thus generating a wide-range of design knowledge, 
which can be used to increase critical sensitivity, to widen and 
compare experiences and give strategic orientation to real-time 
solutions.

4. Inside the larger network of designers, researchers, producers, 
and users, the design research community constitutes a network of 
individuals and institutions. This network connects individuals and 
creates a platform of interaction to encourage continuing dialogue 
among researchers who operate in different ways and in different 
domains. What this community has in common is a commitment to 
building a design research culture, which can contribute to a deeper 
understanding of design itself.

Ezio Manzini, Tomās Maldonado, Victor Margolin, Silvia Pizzocaro





Prof. Silvia Pizzocaro
Politecnico di Milano
Dipartimento Di.Tec
via Durando 38/A
20158 Milano
tel.02 2399.5984
fax 02 2399.7270
email: [log in to unmask]

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