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Posts in category 'Turin'

5 October 2007

Italian World Usability Day on 8 November in Turin

Upa_logo
This year’s World Usability Day (WUD), a global series of events organised by the Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA), will take place on 8 November forthcoming.

The WUD was founded to ensure that the services and products important to life are easier to access and simpler to use.

A wide range of events, exhibits, forums and conferences, taking place in cities all over the world, will raise awareness and debate on this year’s theme of healthcare, a topic which is gathering a lot of attention in national and international policy discussions.

The Italian World Usability Day, which will take place at the Environment Park in Turin, is set up as an interactive forum where well-known experts propose innovative human-centred design solutions to (re-)conceive products, services and processes within the broader field of healthcare.

The Italian WUD has the double aim of showing the potential for innovation when strategies are based on usability and human-centred design (in this case patients and their friends and family, medical staff, institutional staff); and demonstrating the effectiveness of this approach through the presentation of tangible results.

The Turin event will also feature a presentation and discussion of the results of the work done by the Turin-based ASSET Association, an informal but high-level think tank on the Hospital of the Future.

Over the last year ASSET organised a series of benchmark meetings that brought together over 100 experts, both from the world of healthcare and beyond, to help define an innovative model of how a future hospital ought to be structured. The result of these meetings is a rich synthesis document that defines best practices and benchmarks for the Hospital of the Future.

Thanks to the ASSET involvement, the day will be structured as a series of debates on five macro themes: technology, governance, management, communication and environment.

Each thematic session will be introduced by a discussant who will present the results achieved by the ASSET foundation in that particular thematic area, after which a group of national and international experts will provide their own take on the topic, including possible alternative proposals.

This format — presentation of results, critical analysis, redefinition of the proposal — allows for a further refinement of the ASSET guidelines, and will help shape a more operational guidance document, to be called the “Decalogue of the Hospital of the Future”.

Finally, the Italian World Usability Day also provides an excellent opportunity for institutional partners, the business world and private citizens to reflect on how to apply user-centred theories and methodologies within the healthcare system and to be informed on the latest approaches.

*****

UPA (Usability Professionals’ Association) is an association of usability specialists, people from all aspects of human-centred design, and the broad family of disciplines that create the user experience in promoting the design and development of usable products. The association’s objectives are to provide an international network through which usability professionals can share information about the techniques and methodologies in the profession; create an inclusive community for those interested in usability; change new product development processes to include a concern for the people who use them; and increase the body of knowledge about usability and user-centred design through professional education, meetings and conventions and other professional interchange.

ASSET (the Association for the Development of Excellence in Healthcare in Turin) was founded in Turin with the goal of conceiving and implementing innovative solutions to overcome the inefficiencies that currently characterise the local healthcare services. The activities of the association are taking place with support of CirPark (Clinical Industrial Research Park) and the Department of Research and Innovation Policies of the Regional Government of Piedmont.

28 September 2007

The spime arrives

Bruce Sterling
Bruce Sterling is now living in Torino, Italy and will stay here, together with his wife, Serbian author and film-maker Jasmina Tesanovic, until the end of March 2008.

He is here at the invitation of the Regional Government of Piedmont to be the guest curator of the Piemonte Share Festival (11-16 March 2008).

Last night he presented the Italian translation of his book “Shaping Things” in a public lecture and discussion.

He also showed the audience a highly entertaining video of what he images the world of “spimes” to be like.

Discussants were Andrea Bairati (Regione Piemonte Councillor), Luca De Biase (Chief editor Nòva 24 /Il Sole 24Ore) and Claudio Germak (Politecnico di Torino – Word Design Capital Torino 2008) . The conference was moderated by Simona Lodi and Chiara Garibaldi (Share Festival).

Though many topics were addressed, I think the most relevant one is a challenge — for us, for this region and for Bruce too: if Bruce is right in his thinking about spimes and the entire change of thinking and doing it will entail, then what could be a typical Italian positioning in this new social, economic and cultural paradigm?

I hope that in the next six months, the people here in Torino, with the input and ideas of Bruce, can start outlining some initial answers to that question.

To be continued.

13 September 2007

Bruce Sterling lecture in Torino, Italy

Shaping_things
Bruce Sterling will be speaking on his recent book “Shaping Things” in Torino, Italy on Thursday 27 September at 6pm. The event will take place at the “Circolo dei Lettori” [Readers Club].

Sterling [wikipedia - blog] is an American science fiction writer and highly acclaimed futurist thinker and design critic.

He will be living in Torino for the next eight months, “helping out” with the Torino SHARE festival, do his customary blogging and novel writing, cover the design scene for the US press, and also write some contributions (we hope) for the Torino 2008 World Design Capital website.

His book “Shaping Things” [now also available in Italian as "La Forma del Futuro"] introduced the term “spimes” for future manufactured objects with informational support so extensive and rich that they are regarded as material instantiations of an immaterial system.

At the event there will also be interventions by Andrea Bairati (Piedmont Regional Government Deputy for Universities, Research, Innovation and International Relations), Luca de Biase (director of the NOVA supplement of the Sole 24 Ore newspaper), and Claudio Germak (Polytechnic University of Torino and Torino World Design Capital). It will be moderated by Chiara Garibaldi and Simona Lodi, who are in charge of the Piedmont Share Festival.

26 August 2007

Bruce Sterling writes ‘dispatches from the hyperlocal future’ for Wired Magazine

hyperlocal
Bruce Sterling has written a number of “Dispatches from the hyperlocal future” for Wired’s July 2007 issue.

The fictional dispatches dated 2017, have the writer post from Turin (“Torino” in Italian), Milan, Dubai, Mumbai and Washington, DC.

As per usual with Bruce, it is dense and highly entertaining prose, virtually untranslatable, and difficult to quote from. Here is a quote about the hyperlocal web:

“You see, the difference between the old-fashioned semantic Web and the new hyperlocal Web — that’s hyper as in linked, and local as in location — is that the databases of the new Web are stuffed with geographic coordinates. Real positions. Real distances. So the bodyware I carry in my pockets and travel bag broadcasts its location to any device within earshot. (Of course, the RFID chips embedded in everything help the manufacturer get it out the door, but I programmed my own tags so I can’t lose anything.) Roomware — that’s houseware to you troglodytes who still live in houses — is the stuff that runs a hotel room. You know, the remotes that control temperature and unlock the liquor cabinet, plus the window overlay that displays the weather forecast and traffic conditions. Streetware is my mobile’s navigator, plus social tags, ad filters, and all those black-and-white barcode blotches painted on walls like graffiti. Cityware is the next scale up. That’s how the local government monitors traffic, chases down leaky water mains, and keeps tourists on the straight and narrow. Stateware, nationware, globalware — you get the idea.”

In the middle of the long piece, you can even find a visual demo for the Sensicast-Tranzeo 3000. (The article also introduces the Samsung-Olivetti SeeMonster, “a hefty Italo-Korean interactive designer coffee table with an eight-handed, 40-fingered 3-D touchscreen”.

Nice too is Bruce’s image of the Torino of the future:

“Torino worked hard on changing their public image by installing the Zone. Torino used to be the “Detroit of Italy,” but some of its derelict Fiat assembly plants have been turned into city-subsidized creative-class hangouts. Big retrofitted lofts, lots of auto-watered greenery, ping-pong tables and massage chairs…. Lots of freeware. You want a bicycle, you just beep at it and take it. Free Italian movies every night, right up on sides of buildings.

In Torino’s cyber-district, you get your basic Euro-trash laptop gypsies, some installation artists, robotics freaks, do-it-yourself makers, raffish free-software fanatics — stir continuously and feed with cheap spaghetti. Result: a classic Euro-bohemian ferment. It’s like a garage sale Ars Electronica that runs all year.”

Enjoy.

25 August 2007

A gorgeous cinematic introduction to Turin, Italy

Turin
Even for those who don’t understand Italian, this is quite a spectacular introduction to Turin (or “Torino”), Italy, and its surrounding region.

The videos are shot in gorgeous high definition quality by the Turin movie director Luciano De Simone and narrated by Carlo Massarini (who was also responsible for the highly entertaining videos in the excellent Turin Museum of the Mountains).

Eventually the site, which was produced for the Italian Ministry of Culture, will introduce a number of Italian cities but for now the only one online is Turin, the city where I live.

Structured in nine chapters, accessible via a horizontal menu on the bottom, the series includes:
– a general introduction to the city;
Piazza Carignano, which introduces some of the historic centre, Italy’s first parliament (Turin was Italy’s capital from 1861 to 1864), the Egyptian Museum, the role of the theatre in the city, Piedmont food, the Langhe region, and the culture of the “aperitivo” in Turin;
Turin and the movies, focused of course on the Mole Antonelliana, site of the cinema museum;
Turin from the Balôn to the Murazzi, which introduces various neighbourhoods such as the Balôn area where the city’s flea market takes place;
Lingotto, the former FIAT factory, now a mixed-use facility with a conference centre, a commercial centre, a museum, a hotel, and a cinema;
Italia ’61, one of the sites of the Olympic Winter Games of 2006;
From the Dora to the Docks, focused on the new uses given to old industrial buildings;
The heart of the city, introduced as a historic but lively centre;
Turin nightlife.

The interface is quite simple: the “+” sign gives you a larger image, “link utili” provides you with links to what you just saw, and “mobile” allows you to download the movie files.

The site is not at all interactive though: the only thing you can do is watch. Another concern I have is that the creators did not add (optional) English subtitles, which would have not been so difficult to do. Graphically, the meaning of the bar code design element is beyond me.

But it is beautiful. Enjoy.

25 August 2007

Share Award: digital art prize 2008 competition announcement

Share Festival
Piemonte Share Festival announces the second edition of the Share Prize 2008 for digital art.

The competition jury, chaired by Bruce Sterling, will award a prize of 2,500 Euro to the work (published or unpublished) which best represents experimentation between arts and new technologies.

The contest is open to any Italian and foreign artist using digital technology as a language of creative expression, in all its shapes and formats and in combination with analogical technologies and/or any other material (i.e. computer animation / visual effects, digital music, interactive art, net art, software art, live cinema/vj, audiovisual performance, etc.).

(via Bruce Sterling’s Viridian Design, embellished with Bruce’s personal commentary)

11 August 2007

Rapid manufacturing’s role in the factory of the future

Direct Metal Laser Sintering
Two years ago Bruce Sterling wrote in his book Shaping Things: “We can define ‘fabricators’ as a likely future development of the devices known today as ‘3-D printers’ or ‘rapid prototypers’. The key to understanding the fabricator is that it radically shortens the transition from a 3-D model to a physical actuality. A fabricator in a SPIME world is a SPIME that makes physical things out of virtual plans, in an immediate, one-step process.”

It’s happening already, according to this Design News article:

Greg Morris doesn’t spend much time wondering about the factory of the future. He already runs it.

His company, Morris Technologies, specializes in tough-to-manufacture metal components for aerospace, medical and industrial applications. At first glance, Morris seems to operate a conventional machine shop full of high-end CNC machines. Next to the machine tools, though, Morris quietly runs a bank of EOS direct metal laser-sintering (DMLS) machines, which build up parts from successive layers of fused metal powder.

With six machines, Morris has the world’s highest concentration of DMLS capacity. And he has been using those machines not just to make prototypes but also to turn out production parts. It’s a practice that goes by many names — including rapid manufacturing, direct digital manufacturing, solid freeform fabrication and low-volume-layered manufacturing. All of the names refer to the use of additive fabrication technologies, which were initially intended for prototyping, to make finished goods, instead. Morris believes additive fabrication systems will soon occupy an increasingly prominent space on our shop floors. “We’re on the verge of a revolution in how things are made,” he says.

This is also the right time to add another category to Putting People First: mechatronics (under “Business”). It is a term that was recently re-introduced by Donald Norman, and I add it as a category because I think it is particularly relevant to the city where I live (Turin, Italy) with its great and very high-end mechanical engineering tradition – and therefore also for any other engineering-focused economy.

8 August 2007

Turin 2008 on Italian slow design, Irish design innovation and doing good

Slow Food
Three new articles on the website of Turin 2008, World Design Capital (all written or edited by Experientia partner Mark Vanderbeeken):

slow+design – interview with Giacomo Mojoli, Slow Food spokesman
Slow Food, the international ethical movement about good, clean and fair food, has been working a lot lately on developing a slow approach to design (see my earlier report on a small international conference on this topic last year in Milan). Last week I interviewed Giacomo Mojoli to get a better understanding of this initiative. Interestingly he speaks a lot about the meaning of strategic design, service design, experience design and sustainable sensoriality, and raises some controversial ideas about the importance of imperfection, limitation and technological restraint in our design thinking.

Doing Good and Doing Better
Nik Baerten of Belgian foresight consultancy Pantopicon writes about how the design-world appears to be especially active in upping the stakes on doing good.

Center for Design Innovation, Ireland
Then there is also an article by myself setting out the vision behind the Centre for Design Innovation, which is at the heart of a ten-year strategy to push design up the business agenda in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Their approach is all based on user-centred innovation.

27 July 2007

slow+design, examining the slow approach to design

unisg
The new “Food for Thought” journal of Slow Food’s University of Gastronomic Sciences examines the slow approach to design. The entire contents in Italian and English are available to any one who completes the free registration. You can also order a printed copy.

In the article “Beyond Food Design to a Sustainable Sensoriality” (Italian version), Giacomo Mojoli, vice-president of Slow Food International, contemplates what it means to mutually contaminate the sphere of food sensoriality with the wider one of material, manufacturing and creative sensoriality:

“Slow Food is one of these paradigms, a sort of strategic design project, a network prototype, applied to the world of food, agriculture and food education. Slow Food proposed a vision, a way of thinking and acting which by now has gone beyond food to inspire a new and eco-compatible way of conceiving development and economy, on a local as much as a global scale.”

Mojoli sees the objectives of Slow Food’s new slow+design initiative as to “reunite the quality of products with that of the environment and the social forms which generate them” and to “cross the experience of Slow Food with that of those who study and promote the new economy of social networks, the so-called distributed economy, and those who, in the practical and cultural ambit of design, are concerned with the quality of products, services and communications.”

The Slow Model: A Strategic Design Approach” (Italian version) is the title of the second article on the topic by Ezio Manzini (blog) and Anna Meroni of the Milan Polytechnic. They provide a more in-depth analysis of the relation between strategic design and the slow approach. They argue that a new sustainability can arise out of this innovative union, with a rigorous sensibility towards the environment, the quality of life and daily rhythms which can be integrated into the planning of spaces and objects.

“A slow approach means first of all the simple (but in these times revolutionary) affirmation that it is not possible to produce and appreciate quality without taking the time needed to do so, i.e. if we do not slow down in one way or another.

But slow today doesn’t mean just that; it also means a concrete and practicable way of putting this idea into action. It means cultivating quality by connecting products with producers, with the production sites and with the end users who participate in diverse ways in their definition and thus become co-producers.

The slow approach therefore outlines a model of production and alternative consumption which is both subversive and feasible, a model which confronts head on the ideas and practices of today’s globalization. Nevertheless it can be immediately realized on a local level and, as Slow Food has proven, with success.”

In their long essay, they suggest three strategic directions for the slow+design initiative: localisation and experience, phenomenological quality and sustainability, and skill and self-determination.

To find out more about the slow+design initiative, see this earlier post on Putting People First. In 2004 the New York Times also published a nice feature on the launch of the University of Gastronomic Sciences.

20 July 2007

Nicolas Nova talk now on Google Video

Nicolas Nova video
The video of last week’s talk by Nicolas Nova in Turin is now available on Google Video. The slides are available here (pdf, 1.36mb, 90 slides).

Nicolas Nova is a researcher at the Media and Design Lab at the Swiss Institute of Technology, Lausanne and one of the organisers of the LIFT conference.

His talk “Designing a new ecology of mixed digital and physical environments” was a critical overview of ubiquitous computing based on current research in the field (showing what people like Paul Dourish or Genevieve Bell are discussing but also geographers such as Stephen Graham), art/start-up/research projects and alternative visions such as what Nicolas is doing with Julian Bleecker.

The talk was organised by Experientia and the Order of Architects of the Province of Turin.

(Thanks to Experientia collaborator Haraldur Már Unnarsson for making this possible).

14 July 2007

Slides available of talk by Nicolas Nova in Turin

Nicolas Nova
A few days ago Nicolas Nova, a researcher at the Media and Design Lab at the Swiss Institute of Technology, Lausanne and one of the organisers of the LIFT conference, came to visit us in Turin, so Experientia organised a talk for him at the local Order of Architects.

Nicolas Nova reports:

“Currently in Torino, where I gave a talk yesterday organized by Experientia and the Order of Architects of the Province of Turin. My talk “Designing a new ecology of mixed digital and physical environments” was a critical overview of ubiquitous computing based on current research in the field (showing what people like Paul Dourish or Genevieve Bell are discussing but also geographers such as Stephen Graham), art/start-up/research projects and alternative visions such as what I am doing with Julian Bleecker. As I said in the talk, lots of the aspects presented here as design challenges are messy to reflect the complexity of ubicomp design.”

Download pdf (pdf, 1.36 mb, 50 slides)

(We will soon also post a video registration).

12 July 2007

Event highlights of Torino 2008 World Design Capital

Torino 2008 World Design Capital
Torino 2008 World Design Capital just published short summaries of its event highlights (unfortunately below the fold – so they are easy to miss).

They include the Geodesign and Flexibility exhibitions, respectively curated by Stefano Boeri (Italy) and Guta Moura Guedes (Portugal) in the Spring; an international Summer School and a conceptual Olivetti exhibition in the summer; and an week full of events organised by International Houses of Design as well as an exhibition on creativity in car design in the autumn.

The Icograda Design Week will also take place in Turin – after Havana, Seattle and Istanbul – with several exhibitions, conferences and workshops. The year will start off with a spectacular New Year’s Eve event.

6 July 2007

European designers to meet in World Design Capital to promote usability and design

Upa_logo
(Bloomingdale, IL: July 6, 2007) – The first European regional conference of the Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA) will take place in Torino, Italy, named the 2008 World Design Capital. Hundreds of designers and usability specialists are expected to attend.

“The UPA Europe 2008 conference provides a great opportunity to reinforce the importance of usability and user-centered design. These are essential design concepts that European UPA chapters promote in industry, education and government.” said Michele Visciola, UPA European regional conference co-chair and President of the UPA Italy Chapter.

Visciola will co-chair the conference along with Silvia Zimmermann, the International UPA Director of Organizational Outreach and UPA Switzerland board member.

The conference will be held in Torino, Italy, in 2008, when the city will host a large variety of activities as the first-ever World Design Capital – a title it was awarded by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID).

The UPA Europe 2008 conference will focus on usability and design and is expected to take place in October or December 2008. Designers, researchers and usability specialists from around the world will be invited to share and learn about innovative ways to design better products and experiences.

“This conference will demonstrate the design expertise and leadership within the various UPA chapters and usability practitioners throughout Europe,” said Zimmermann.

UPA chapter leaders will soon be invited to nominate UPA Europe 2008 conference committee members to help organize the conference.

(original press release)

4 July 2007

Peter Greenaway and the Savoy experience

First we observe
The Venaria Reale is a spectacular palace from the XVIIth and XVIIIth Century just outside Turin, Italy. It was built as the hunting grounds of the Savoy king – rumours go that the prey was also human and female.

When the royals were deposed just after the Second World War, the Turin population sacked the complex and took everything imaginable and unimaginable along with them. It also served as army barracks and immigrant housing at that time. As one can imagine, only a beautiful shell remained. Luckily the local authorities decided for preservation and a costly renovation is now completed.

When pondering what to do with such an enormous palace (it’s bigger than Buckingham Palace), the Region of Piedmont turned to Peter Greenaway. His project, called “Peopling the Palaces”, will feature five giant projections onto the bare palace walls (the original panelling and paintings were sacked as well), illustrating court life in the 17th and 18th centuries. “Imagine going into Venaria Reale and as it were watching 300 cinema films all at once which all interconnect,” said Peter Greenaway.

From a La Stampa newspaper article today [my translation]:
“The visitors will be welcomed by period actors, real and virtual at the same time, that will introduce them to to the palace, and guide him to the private apartments of the Duke, to the kitchen, and to the hunt. They will also be introduced to the court and to the “flying squadron” of the Savoy house, a formation invented by Caterina de Medici and afterwards copied, a group of 40 luxurious damsels ready to offer their services in exchange for alliances, information and secrets. Greenaway has meticulously documented himself on the period and wrote all the dialogues, which were then translated into and recited in Italian. The dialogues, though historically correct, are absolutely unconventional, and so are the projections which are currently being edited.”

View video of Peter Greenaway describing the project

2 July 2007

Recent stories on the Turin 2008 World Design Capital website

Torino 2008 World Design Capital
A few months ago Experientia partner Mark Vanderbeeken started doing some writing for the Turin 2008 World Design Capital website, and will continue to do so until the end of 2008.

The site has just been refreshed with an interview with Marie-Josée Lacroix, design commissioner of the City of Montreal; an essay on design and sustainability by Niti Bhan; a short overview of the history of the UK Design Council; and some stories from the international press.

For the first edition of the online magazine, Mark interviewed Ranjit Makkuni, wrote an essay on people-centred design, profiled the Nagoya Design Center, and zoomed in on the thinking of Mike Kuniavsky.

Feel free to contact us (mark followed by experientia dot com) with comments, suggestions, criticisms and proposals.

1 July 2007

Nicolas Nova lectures in Turin, Italy – 12 July

Nicolas Nova
Nicolas Nova, Swiss Federal Research Institute (CH)
Designing a new ecology of mixed digital and physical environments

12 July 2007 – 7pm
Order of Architects of the Province of Turin
via G. Giolitti 1 – Torino – 3rd floor

Nicolas Nova will give a critical overview of the evolution towards “hybridised environments”, i.e. mixed physical and digital ecologies, sometimes also identified as media spaces, mixed realities, ubiquitous computing, and lifelogging realities. He will describe the systems as well the underlying technologies needed to support them, with a strong focus on how to best address people’s needs and enhance their lives. Examples such as lab projects, start-up products and art pieces will help outline the main trends and applications to expect in the near future. Nova will discuss the implications of this evolution for designers, architects and engineers on issues such as the user experience, the practice changes and the challenges to be solved.

Nicolas Nova is a researcher at the Media and Design Lab of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne where he completed a Ph.D in human-computer interaction. His research focuses on spatial and location-awareness, location-based, virtual and tangible gaming experiences, and the hybridisation of digital and physical environments. He is a co-producer of the highly acclaimed, and internationally prestigious LIFT conference in Geneva, which this year was attended by over 500 participants. He blogs at Pasta and Vinegar about emerging technologies usage and foresight.

The lecture, which will be in English, is jointly organised by Experientia and the Order of Architects of the Province of Turinthe organisation which by the way is also responsible for next year’s UIA World Congress of Architecture. Additional communication support is provided by the design community TURN.

RSVP: architettitorino at awn dot it

2 June 2007

Bruce Sterling moving to Torino, Italy

Bruce Sterling
Bruce Sterling will be moving to Turin (a.k.a. “Torino”), Italy, starting September – for a period of six to eight months.

Sterling [wikipedia - blog] is an American science fiction writer and highly acclaimed futurist thinker and design critic. His recent book “Shaping Things” introduced the term “spimes” for future manufactured objects with informational support so extensive and rich that they are regarded as material instantiations of an immaterial system.

As he wrote me, he will be “helping out” with the Torino SHARE festival, do his customary blogging and novel writing, cover the design scene for the US press, and also write some contributions (I hope) for the Torino 2008 World Design Capital website.

He will move to Torino with his wife Jasmina Tešanović [wikipedia - blog], a Serbian author and film maker, who is a fluent Italian speaker and “has a lot to occupy her here”.

The news is already making the rounds here in Torino and there is genuine enthusiasm about it – and this on various levels. Bruce is well known in Italy and many of his books have been translated in Italian.

Ah, Torino lost Régine but gained Bruce.

We will do our best to keep him busy and excited. Welcome Bruce!

19 April 2007

Experientia contributes to Torino 2008

Torino 2008
The new website of Torino 2008 World Design Capital contains an editorial section, managed by Experientia partner Mark Vanderbeeken, with interviews, profiles of design centres, essays and some commented articles from the international press that together provide an international window on Torino 2008.

The monthly interview series features a number of thought-provoking conversations with leading designers or people who have major impact on the design world. The first interview is with Ranjit Makkuni, who is the director of the Sacred World Foundation and the project director of the Eternal Gandhi Multimedia Museum.

Monthly essays explore issues in further depth. The first essay is on people-centred design as a means to affect cultural and social change, and is also written by Experientia partner Mark Vanderbeeken.

The monthly focus on design centres is a contribution to Torino 2008’s theme of design policy, which has the the aim of informing the activities of the Torino Design Centre but also of provoking a debate on what could become a national design policy in Italy. The first featured design centre is the one from Nagoya.

Finally, each month the site will feature an article from the international press. The first one discusses magic as a new metaphor for mobile devices.

19 April 2007

Carlo Ratti and Régine Debatty featured in Ventiquattro magazine

Régine Debatty
Last Saturday (14 April), Carlo Ratti of MIT’s Senseable City Lab and Régine Debatty of we-make-money-not-art.com were featured in a six page article in Ventiquattro, the magazine of the highly regarded Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore (somewhat comparable to The Wall Street Journal).

Of course, this is delightful news. I have featured Carlo and Régine and their work several times on this blog and I know them both quite well. Each of them has a connection with Torino: Carlo who is originally from the city divides his life between Torino and Boston. Régine has lived in Torino for many years, and moved only recently to Berlin.

The article, with gorgeous photos, is really a double self-portrait featured in a section called “New lifestyles”. They each write about how they live their rather unique lives: Régine as a full-time blogger, and Carlo with a professional architecture studio in Torino and a research group and lecturing activities at MIT in Boston.

Download scan of article (pdf, 1.1 mb, 6 pages)

19 April 2007

Torino 2008 World Design Capital launches Torino GEODESIGN

Torino 2008 World Design Capital
Yesterday I went to a press conference by Torino 2008 World Design Capital at the Milan Design Fair which presented TORINO GEODESIGN.

TORINO GEODESIGN (described in more detail in this Core77 article) is an international competition which will bring designers from all over the world to collaborate with communities and businesses in Piedmont. It will be one of the major events of the Torino 2008 programme.

It is based on the concept of “self-organised” design, that is energetic and highly experimental. The project is generated by a community of consumers, living in large metropolises undergoing change and in cosmopolitan European cities, who transform themselves into suppliers of services.

Speakers were Sergio Chiamparino (Mayor of Torino), Stefano Boeri (project leader of Geodesign competition), Fernando and Humberto Campana (designers), Guta Moura Guedes (President ExperimentaDesign Biennial, Lisbon), and John Thackara (director of Doors of Perception and Dott07). Zaha Hadid was caught ill in New York but contributed via a written statement.

After Stefano Boeri’s presentation of the project, Guta Moura Guedes underlined how design is more and more an issue of people, and therefore increasingly democratic. Cities, she said, are becoming places for bottom-up experimentation in the design field aimed at improving the quality of life for and by those who live within those cities. Design is becoming flexible, hence the overall theme of Torino 2008 (“flexibility”), adapting to different circumstances and issues such as social change, political change and climate change.

Torino’s Mayor Sergio Chiamparino said that three elements in the project were important to him: the in-depth creation of knowledge about the city, the concrete collaboration with citizens and with the topics that matter to them, and the development of a future vision for the city.

Working with local communities is something that the Campana brothers have been doing for quite some time now and they presented several examples of how they work with the rich tradition of handicraft in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

John Thackara finally endorsed the GEODESIGN idea but connected it with the topic of sustainability. We would need, he said, 100 design cities to make a fundamental impact and the radical transformation that is needed. 80% of the environmental impact of the products in our world are the result of design decisions. A large part of the answers can come from other cultures or from other times, where people learned to live sustainability. How can we learn from them?

As described on the new website (and previously illustrated in my interview with Torino 2008 director Paola Zini), the year has been divided into four phases — Public Design, Economy and Design, Education and Design, and Design Policies — each aimed at four specific target groups: the citizens, businesses, the world of education and the institutions.

“Each of these groups represents a cardinal point in the life cycle of contemporary design. Each phase studies, develops and promotes the relationship between design and the urban fabric. This cross section involves the various actors who interrelate within the city and help delineate its aspect.”

Experientia contributes to Torino 2008 website

The editorial section of the new Torino 2008 website, i.e. the part that changes all the time, is curated by me (Experientia partner Mark Vanderbeeken).

Every month the site will feature an interview, an essay, a profile of a foreign design centre, and a short reflection on the international press. The first interview is with Ranjit Makkuni of the Sacred World Foundation and the first essay is by myself on people-centred design as a means to affect cultural and social change.