Step Across the Border [Lugano, Switzerland] – 2016 / 2017

Download here the “Step Across the Border – GIDE Lugano 2017” book.

“Step Across the Border” was the working title of the GIDE International workshop week hosted by SUPSI, University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland in February 2017. It was conceived and coordinated by the Bachelor of Arts in Interior Architecture SUPSI. As part of a continued programme of workshops pioneered by GIDE brought together seven European schools and a Chinese school to explore the theme of the border. During the academic year 2017/2018 the students of the GIDE partners schools worked for one semester on the subject “Step Across the Border” inspired by the SUPSI workshop week. The student’s project results were exhibited in February 2018 in Magdeburg during the GIDE week 2019. A common subject that has been developed, interpreted and applied in different contexts and disciplines, with a variety of instruments and approaches. Different cultures, languages, words, meanings, cultural references.

The GIDE Lugano 2017 workshop theme “Step Across the Border” aimed to step beyond the visible reality and established way of analysing human spatial interactions in urban spaces by inviting interdisciplinary student teams from Visual Communication, Industrial and Interaction Design, Interior Architecture, Interior Environmental Design to explore the sociology of space. The “sociology” of space examines the social and material constitution of spaces. It is concerned with understanding the social practices, institutional forces and material complexities of how humans and spaces interact. This is important to examine as it challenges the dominant way in which we perceive and ‘read’ urban spaces and interiors.

The students projects presented in this book are the results of the work of the nomad laboratory of GIDE. Following the experience of the workshop in Lugano, that launched and explored the theme “Step across the border”, the GIDE partner schools have been working in the winter semester with multidisciplinary studios on the common theme. The common work theme has made contact with territories and with different approaches, scales, instruments, disciplines giving rise to a wide multidisciplinary panorama of design explorations representing an interesting discussion table for students, researchers, teachers.

campUS [Milan, Italy] – 2015 / 2016

download here the “campUS GIDE Milano 2015” book

The ‘GIDE CampUS e-publication outlines the international workshop week hosted by the School of Design, Politecnico di Milano in October 2015 as part of the GIDE network. It offers critical essay’s and research insights from the coordinators of the GIDE Milano 2015 interdisciplinary workshop week. Outcomes form this event provided the research catalyst for a shared project in the following academic sessions 2015/16. Here, eight GIDE institutions worked for one semester, inspired by emerging themes of the earlier workshop week, to develop diverse responses to the “CampUS – Among + With + For Student & Citizens” themes to explore new shared events, territories and relationships between Universities and surrounding local communities. This led to 48 ‘CampUS’ proposals from 8 nations being exhibited at the following GIDE Leeds event in February 2016 to reflect the iterative and cyclical timeframe driving the GIDE experience since 2003.

“CampUS – Among + With + For Student & Citizens” theme is connected to an existing research project, “CampUS: Incubation and Settings for Social Practices” (2014/16), delivered by Politecnico di Milano (Design, Management Engineering and Architecture & Urban Studies Department); one of the research initiatives that won the prestigious ‘PoliSocial Award 2014, ( i.e. PoliSocial: the social responsibility programme at Politecnico di Milano) – a research programme which examines new relationships between University estate and the local context in which academies are located, between urban neighbourhoods and universities can be made possible through the (re)organisation of new social spaces and collaborative micro-actions that are able to increase resilience and facilitate interaction, integration and social cohesion. The CampUS project falls within this scope and aims to become a flexible model for the interaction of local, social spaces and an agent for the implementation of new forms of social spatial practices.

The GIDE Campus workshop theme was research-led scaled experiment that integrates the core values of the existing “CampUS: Incubation and Settings for Social Practices” funded project, and offered international participants (academics, researchers and UG and Masters students) the opportunity to investigate the potential for renewed and dynamic relationships between the city of Milan, its inhabitants and undergraduate students of local universities. Academics, researchers and students  investigated a common theme, sharing experiences, cultures, approaches and design skills across a series of micro-sites. Results underline the key role interdisciplinary, research-led collaboration plays in the developing new scenarios for contemporary living and social need and underpins the ambitious international ethos of GIDE.

FEED THE PLANET [Mechelen, Belgium] – 2014 / 2015


This first GIDE e-publication, “Design Feeds the Planet” can be downloaded at this link gide_design-feeds-the-planet . “Design Feeds the Planet” continues GIDE’s ethos of delivering dynamic interdisciplinary and intercultural experiences that reflect the ethical, social and cultural dimensions of 21st C design education. Food security is widely accepted as a critical global challenge filtering into the research strategies of global institutions. As a sustainable issues, how we feed the planet is embodied in the 2015 Milan EXPO, (the 34th universal EXPO and its core theme os “Feeding the planet, energy for life” drives new global scenarios focused on health, wellbeing and food security, and is expressed through tangible architectural touch-points, exhibition and design. But the relationships between the growth of food and the growth of cities is relatively new. How might we introduce such security issues to future generations of practicing designers’?  GIDE annually brings together students, academics, researchers and stakeholders together to investigate contemporary social-ethical-cultural problems through intercultural design collaboration. From February 2014 till October 2015 students and educators, from eight countries worked on (local) food-related design concepts across a range of city sites – conceptualised as ‘urban left-overs’ to reflect the theme “Design Feeds the Planet”. The intellectual edge and the research thrust driving the GIDE Mechelen workshop week (in Feb 2014) was delivered by key note Carolyne Steele, author of ‘Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives’. This e-publication represents outcomes from interior architecture / design, visual communication, industrial design, interaction and service design related disciplines from the eight GIDE partner schools’. It outlines the research themes driving the collaboration and discusses the creative responses initially triggered at the experimental workshop hosted by the Interior Design, Thomas More University College Mechelen, Belgium in Feb 2014.

DESIGN IN ACTION [Dundee, Scotland] -2012/2013 & CELEBRATION [Ljubljana, Slovenia]-2013/2014

“Design in Action” and “Celebration” is a double-volume publication. Both publications capture the key research themes and design responses to two consecutive international workshops. The first, GIDE Dundee 2012, was hosted by DJCAD in Feb 2012 with key note speakers, Prof Georgina Follet (DiA); Tom Inns, now Director of GSA and Prof Mike Press, and devised by the Interior Environmental Design team led by Andy Milligan, (also took the editorial leadership of the “Design in Action” publication).  The “Design in Action” theme was inspired by the AHRC funded collaborative DiA research consortium, based at Dundee, and demonstrating designs key role in driving strategy for economic growth and innovation within industry through chiasmas and other business engagement events. The GIDE Dundee “Design in Action” ambition in 2012 sought to align students, researchers and academics with similar ‘real-time’ collaboration but with regional creative and cultural organisations. In a week, eight ‘live’ briefs were developed in collaboration with-Dundee Rep Theatre; DCA Dundee Contemporary Arts; The Fleet Collective, Dundee; Hospitalfield House, Arbroath; DUSA Dundee Students Union; BFDT Broughty Ferry Development Trust; Student Designers.Com and the Trigger: Developing Practice Within Participatory Settings research group. Approximately 250 student, academic, researches and invited specialists contributed to the international workshop week culminating in client presentations.

‘Celebration’ was hosted by the Faculty of Design, Ljubljana in Feb 2013 to mark the tenth anniversary of the GIDE network. The ‘Celebration’ workshops theme focussed on the architectural fabric of the city, and in particular chose as its muse the small bridges that are part of the urban regeneration of respected Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik . The celebration and focus on bridges as creative sites for collective intervention by interdisciplinary teams provided useful metaphors for meeting, collaboration and exchange offering wider narratives and urban readings of the city which lead to new bridge forms, events, actions and behaviours and engineering visions.

CREATIVITY FOR LOCAL ENTERPRISES  [Magdeburg, Germany]- 2011/2012


‘Creativity for Local Enterprises’ addresses the core themes of play, creativity and chance discovery and their relevance to social / educational engagement and value to industry, manufacturing and SME’s. This publication describes the themes and issues which initially emerged at the GIDE Magdeburg 2011 international workshop week hosted by Industrial and Interaction Design at the Hochschule Magdeburg-Stendal, Germany.  Key note speakers at the workshop week included the Israeli designer Ronan Kadushin, a pioneer of the Open Design Now network. The publication provides critical insights into the central role play as provocation and as an essentially social and human condition. It shifts from scepticism of ‘play’ and a negative inversion of ‘work’ and productivity, toward what Johan Huzinga’s termed ‘homo-ludens‘ or man the player as helpful conceptual frameworks in which to link play to better production. Collectively, these lend themselves to broader questions on ‘creativity’ as a driver of new educational paradigms, business thinking, innovation and new markets. Included in the publication are keynote papers by artists Dan Robinson. His ‘Extra: Prefix-Outside, Beyond, in Addition To” paper describes playful processing of analogue and digital material surfaces; Josephine Hage states in The Significance of Cultural & Creative Industries’ a case for valuing the cultural and creative capital from a political, geographic perspective and as an economic driver of innovation in Germany. Professor Marion Meyer, in ‘Everyone is Creative, Right? Creativity is a State of Mind’, argues that creativity, far from a metric, formula or methodology to be ‘technically’ applied, is, like some features of experience prototyping, a state of mind in which play is capable of unlocking and in engaging SME’s in a new pedagogic , play-ethic experiences which open thinking and enhance productivity. Both the earlier workshop, and later publication, are aimed at the development of an innovation-oriented design culture with regional companies and local public administration. It serves, for example, to advance the transfer of knowledge and technology between academia and the economy in a targeted manner. The project provides support for more intensive networking between the creative sector and economy on different levels of engagement, from design practice, academic research, KTN down to research-led pedagogies.

EXHIBIT  [Lugano, Switzerland]- 2010/2011


Edited by GIDE members Davide Fassi and Agnese Rebaglio of Politecnico di Milano and Isabella Vegni of SUPSI, Lugano, “Exhibit” is a GIDE research publication that focuses on the creative works and critical essays developed across the seven GIDE partner institutions during the academic year 2010/11. GIDE institutions worked for one semester on this shared ‘exhibit’ topic with Interior, Industrial / Product Design and Art & Design Interdisciplinary students to explore innovative solutions related to, and inspired by, the exhibition field. Theoretical insights of the exhibit were initially presented at the GIDE Lugano 2010 international workshop and exhibition hosted by SUPSI, Scuola Universitaria Professionale della Svizzera Italiana. This set the intellectual focus for the formal project within each GIDE institution later that year. Academics and students investigated this common design theme, sharing their design experiences, cultures, approaches, processes and design skills. “Exhibit” offers the reader diverse and dynamic perspectives from GIDE researchers from seven countries through critical essays that both describes and provokes new insights into the “Exhibit” . This new research publication underlines the significant role that collaborative design thinking has upon innovative spatial, interdisciplinary and industrial design education in the development of new scenarios for contemporary living.

DESIGN FOR INNOVATIVE COMMUNITIES [Leeds, England] – 2009/2010design-for-innovative-communities-2010

“Design for innovative communities” is the theme that GIDE has developed in the academic year 2009/10. The choice of subject has followed a methodological process, strengthened in the group, starting from the shared expertise of a workshop in which general scenarios were explored, and then carried out individually in every single universities member of the group. From 18th to 20th February 2008 in Leeds at the Leeds College of Art (ICA) was held on “GIDE event in 2008″ that picked up the project activities of the participating schools, developed over a semester on a shared theme. The occasion of GIDE event is also to launch the theme to be developed in the year ahead and to involve teachers and students in an initial survey and research activities on the topic proposed in order to trace its borders and ensure the applicability to the specific approach of each participant. Multi-local communities – visions for the future” was the topic chosen by the Leeds College of Art (LCA) coordinators asking a series of questions that could be explored in the workshop with more than 150 students and 20 teachers from five European countries. What other unseen communities are involved? What network could this be a part of? How could such a network be adapted to achieve alternative aims? How could this model be developed? What are the key factors for sustainable development and in which direction? What is the role of spatial and 3d design to this? Students were invited to look forward to how things ‘might be’ at the peak of their adult lives and this should be 20 years hence. In detail they had:

· to collectively appraise/evaluate a given Leeds venue and some of the communities that thrive or survive there

· to explore physical qualities the locality has to offer, and how it contributes as a provider for the needs of different groups of people

· to consider other unseen communities that might be involved

At the end of the workshop, after assessing the results and shared the output of the research, GIDE group defined the theme of the following academic year: “Design for innovative communities” This book introduces, in the first part, the theoretical contributions of each school relating to the group on the subject and presents, in the second part, the results of the project developed in the fall semester of 2009/10 academic year by each participant schools. The added value of the work is once again the opportunity that is given to teachers and students from different European countries to compete on a common theme, sharing experiences, cultures, design ability. The different approaches to project design and the different aspects of the discipline of the participating schools, will help to make this work an interesting opportunity to question the role that the design of spaces and 3D design have in the development of new reference scenarios of contemporary living.


There is an apparent contradiction between trying to live anywhere, to feel “at home” everywhere, which seems to emerge from the way in which we make use of the city today, and adopting the ethic of the wanderer. What unites these two phenomenological aspects of contemporary life is the prevalence of the forms of mobility on any other form of behavior in the urban space. It is in this context that the culture of design, particularly interior design, can have a crucial role to play. As an interpreter of the demand for spaces along today’s “silk roads”, that are crossing routes like the lymphatic system of the land, providing innovative services to travelers, an hospitable environment, and also opportunities to be experienced, qualities to discover. As also a creator of innovative strategies based on reversible actions, sustainable, the reuse of existing containers making them available to the community, by equipping the interior and open spaces of the city turning them into a complete set. As Ettore Sottsass, liked to sustain, not buildings, but places, occasions, relationships, surfaces, colours.


In more contemporary times, sport events, international exhibitions and sometimes rock concerts and international political meetings contribute with jubilee events to accelerate the transformation of the city planning, even though not always with similar efficient results: the accent is always put on the increase in the offer of structures dedicated to hospitality and to the requalification of public spaces, with the intent of making them more welcoming and functional to a wider concept of hospitality. In this way the hospitality spaces issue acquires new and unprecedented meanings, as they are no more the structures traditionally in charge of the task, but they are extended to a wider concept of territory, to the city itself, to its open spaces. It is in fact within this field that design culture seems to have new tasks, determined by the accent put on the matter of designing representative places linked to the concept of hospitality and of service, which is very different from the current. It pays attention to the quality and variety of the service as well as to the products and surroundings design.

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