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Research areas

The research developed by the Department combines in-depth study of the theoretical and methodological dimensions of the discipline with an orientation toward design experimentation, helping to redefine the perimeter and update the application contexts of design concerning current technological, social and cultural transformations.

Against this backdrop, two dynamics of change inform the Department's scientific project:

  • the acceleration of scientific-technological development, which modifies and expands the application fields of design, transforming its processes, tools and skills;
  • the identification of sustainability as a fundamental value, which changes the role of design and redefines its values and priorities.

Based on these assumptions, the Department of Design has articulated its activities along with some lines of research and experimentation:


Advanced manufacturing and new entrepreneurship

This line of research investigates the role and potential of design in orienting the evolution of the production system towards paradigms of circularity and sustainability, with particular attention to the transformation of artisanal culture and new models of design and production (open and distributed manufacturing, Industry 4.0); to advanced experimentation in some Made in Italy sectors (Fashion-Tech, Food-Tech, Med-Tech, etc.); and to emerging application contexts related to frontier technologies (artificial intelligence, biotechnology, etc.). The line of research also investigates the new models of design-driven entrepreneurship and the application of Design Thinking to business strategies and innovation of organizational and business models.


Creative and cultural industries

The line of research focuses on the Creative and Cultural Industries, with attention to the role of design in promoting new forms of creative entrepreneurship, strengthening the relationship with Milan, recognized as the capital of creativity in the design and fashion sectors, and with a potential cultural leadership role at an international level. In this context specific attention is paid to new product-service systems that enhance the dimensions of creativity and culture; to new languages and media and their impact on communication models; to communication and interaction design for the reconfiguration of relational networks for social and cultural inclusion.


Territory, Environments and Cultural Heritage

This line of research, marked by the paradigm of sustainability, investigates the role of design in the valorization and fruition of territory and environments. It pays attention to behaviours and lifestyles induced by ongoing changes and new relationships between humans and space, from the scale of interiors to that of infrastructure and the city. It also focuses on the potential of design in developing new ways of organizing and representing historical and artistic knowledge to enhance cultural and environmental heritage. In this context, particular attention is paid to new models of fruition of cultural heritage and artefacts, with specific attention to the impact of digital technologies.


Services, public administration and smart cities

The research line promotes the development and testing of methodologies, tools and solutions for service innovation, paying attention to design as a carrier of new skills and an enabler of social innovation processes with a view to sustainability and inclusion. It focuses on the different scales-from the individual service, to the overall service offering of a public administration, to the integrated service offering of a city with the aim of contributing to the design of more effective, efficient and user-centred services. To this end, the line of research also investigates the processes of organizational change necessary for their integration into organizations and the social fabric, improving the processes of policy construction in order to make them more dynamic and connected to empirical evidence.