Concept Design Studio is made by 3 modules:
- Product Cultures (led by Manuela Celi)
- Product-System Design (led by Annalisa Dominoni)
- Visioning (led by Benedetto Quaquaro)
The module 2. and 3. shape the course Space4InspirAction (S4I) - created in 2017 by Annalisa Dominoni and Benedetto Quaquaro - which is the only one in Europe to have the recognition and support by European Space Agency (ESA) through experts and scientists who suggest and then deepen the project themes in line with the objectives of the Space agencies’ strategic programs.
Module 1 - PRODUCT CULTURES – PROGRAM
The course has the objective to open the envisioning capacity of the student. This module – placed at the beginning of the Concept Design Studio - will nourish the student ability of exploring frontier topic and future perspective through some specific tools and techniques. The final aim is to be able to produce and narrate new scenarios.
The course will adopt a Research through design method which generates knowledge by/while adopting a design approach. The activity of designing artefacts (more or less consciously) is a way of learning and this - in a meta-knowledge system – is a way to uncover, or better let insights and new concepts emerge (Frayling, 1993; Findeli, 2000).
Expected Learning Outcomes
The basic knowledge and the grounding technical activities of the first semester will allow the student - at this stage - to freely imagine and define innovative concepts also for a far future horizon. At the end of the course the will be able to:
-identify and characterize trends;
-generate and implement scenarios;
-Ideate product concept for a specific scenario;
-communicate the innovative concept.
Skills to develop:
Acquiring autonomous research ability: collect, recognize, select and organize visual information on emerging trends.
Developing ability to communicate research results: express and describe the selected trend topic with proper visual and aesthetical qualities.
Employ the research's information to build different scenarios.
Show and Illustrate possible scenarios through static evocative images and a proper written description.
Create a coherent scenario based on certain time horizon including products and their interaction with user and/or environment:
- Crystallize the scenario in to a product/product system through rough prototypes;
- Narrate the scenario through a short video illustrating the functions and the interactions.
Module 2,3 - SPACE4INSPIRACTION– PROGRAM
This course S4I is a unique opportunity to develop a strong capacity of visioning looking at Space as an inspiration to innovate and design new projects of Space habitats and tools but also new scenarios that could help people to live better in a sustainable way. We believe Space innovations will have a strong influence on how people behave and perform and the role of design is to humanize technology to meet the needs of a sustainable society. We also believe Space can really inspire students and help to understand better how they can be more conscious of the transformation technology brings.
Thanks to ESA we will be able to compare our design vision with real conditions and requirements and find innovative solutions designed for Space, but that can be also transferred to daily life on Earth becoming spin-off. Space allows students to develop creativity with intense visioning activities by confronting with confined and microgravity environment, that is not part of our common experience.
The second edition 2018 involved the presence of Thales Alenia Space (TAS), Joint Venture between Thales 67% and Leonardo 33% - the world's leading player in the construction of Space habitats - who chose the collaboration with the Space4InspirAction course to design the new “Gateway” cis-lunar station, on which all the Space agencies are concentrated at this time. The collaboration between the S4I course and TAS is not a spot project, but the beginning of an ongoing agreement about “didactis - research – design” to ensure the development of innovative projects in which the contribution of design discipline is fundamental and strategic to generate disruptive ideas and visions for architecture and habitability in Space, with particular attention to human factors and interactions between operator and instrument.
The couse has a dual purpose: if on the one hand it is inspired by Space and defines new visions, starting from real conditions and requirements, on the other it imagines new spin-offs and spin-ins, i.e. transfers of Space technologies and behaviors that can be applied to our daily life to improve it, and vice versa. For this reason design companies from the private sector will be involved to the projects together with Space companies with the aim to translate Space inspiration and vision into new concepts of products.
It is our aim to enhance the high quality of the projects developed during S4I course with the exploitation of the results through media press and exhibitions.
The results of the 1st edition 16-17 of Space4inspirAction have been presented during an event at Planetarium Ulrico Hoepli in Milan, an exhibition for the “Long Night of the Stars”, an ESA event celebrating the 50th anniversary of ESOC, the European Space Operations Centre, in Darmstadt, Germany, and during the European Night of Researchers at ESA Italian Headquarters in Frascati, Rome.
The projects developed during the 2nd edition 17-18 of Space4InspirAction course have been presented at the Altec - Thales Alenia Space headquarter during an event that also included an itinerant exhibition in Italy and abroad curated by the European Space Agency, including the ESA international conference in Bilbao.
The unusual and extraordinary environment offers students the possibility to think out-of-the-box, like astronauts experience looking at the Earth from another point of view, and the chance to increase the creativity and the ability to imagine and design new Space habitats and tools starting from a perspective completely unknown.
Through a new methodology that we have developed and called Usage Gesture Design (UGD) design is not limited to creating objects, environments, architectures, but also new behaviors and gestures of astronauts in relation to the use of designed objects, environments and architectures.
Multidisciplinary approach is fundamental for the creation of new professionals who are able to speak different languages of the project and that is why we have involved mechanical engineering students who work in groups with our design students to ensure the feasibility of new ideas and increase the skills of all students.
The frame of S4I course is composed by 2 parts which interact with each other:
- a theoretical and explorative part which provides lectures with ESA experts and scientists as well engineers by Space industries who integrate their experience and know-how useful to the development of the projects;
- a practical part, the real project, developed with professors and supported by ESA and Space industries in which is required a disruptive capacity of visioning.
The sequence of activities is planned to introduce progressive levels of complexity and to give students the opportunity to use previous knowledge and that they are learning in parallel in the theoretical integrated part with the aim to increase their capacity to manage information with different skills.
The topics of the course change every year, following the Space strategic programs, with the aim to find connections between “living in Space” and “living on Earth” and suitable solutions for two both, looking at astronauts activities in microgravity and the alterations of body postures and movements in relation to their objects, that can generate new gestures and ideas for our projects.
Space knowledge, Space research results, experimentations, new materials and technologies suggested by ESA will be important drivers to increase the innovation value of the projects.
Expected Learning Outcomes
At the end of the course students will learn what “Space Design” means, and how to apply design research & practice to improve the quality of life in Space through 2 methodologies as guideline into the design process: UCD (User Centred Design) and UGD (Usage and Gesture Design).
They will be able to design visionary projects of Space habitats and tools (Space ship for interplanetary missions, lunar and mars bases etc.) thinking out-of-the-box, according to the real requirements given by Space agencies and industries, and generate innovation crossing Space and Earth technologies and behaviours.