The Department of Design’s research activities are divided into three main areas, called Sections.

These sections are containers of lines of research and are support bodies designed to develop the department’s activities.

Research focuses on the relationship between design and the various cultures – historical, critical and design itself – on which it draws, with specific emphases according to subject and with particular regard to innovation in methods, processes, technologies and systems of communication and representation. A necessary convergence of skills from different disciplines thus emerges, one in which while maintaining the scientific status of their original fields, these skills share an original “humanities-centred” multidisciplinary model of practice, an advanced research platform for shared practices at the level of theories, languages and knowledge.
The main fields of application are:

  • communication (knowledge processes, traditional and digital media, narrative structures);

  • innovation (cultural and sociotechnical dynamics, the construction of meaning, models and styles of life);

  • representation (drawing, applications of geometry and del rilievo, digital technologies);

  • design for the user (the central importance of the individual, safety of products and services, quality);

  • cultural heritage (new paradigms for the enjoyment of museums, archives, enterprises, events and geographical areas).

Today, the solution to the demand for design increasingly takes the form of a continuum of products, services and communication as part of strategies which embrace broad issues ranging from technologies to culture, from strategies to the planning of visions and scenarios, with a view to innovation and environmental and social sustainability.
Within this framework of development, the section is concerned with:

  • design themes on various scales and levels of complexity, with a focus on people, communities and the environment;

  • opportunities for developing these aspects, starting from a critical analysis of phenomena underway;

  • opportunities for developing these aspects, starting from a critical analysis of phenomena underway;

  • identifying research themes which are not yet mature but which anticipate new, potentially innovative scenarios;

  • identifying research themes which are not yet mature but which anticipate new, potentially innovative scenarios;

The main objective of the section is to consolidate lines of research which are internationally relevant and identifiable, while at the same time placing value on elements of an original, specific nature in the polytechnical approach, in terms of tools and knowledge generated.

The demand for liveable, welcoming, accessible spaces, in response to the new ways in which they are used, calls upon the culture of design to construe new ways of living and moving. It is necessary to respond to such a process of transformation by calling environments and traditions into question. Research needs to have a broad, humanistic, technological vision in designing environments, spaces and connections characterised by factors of flexibility and reversibility, on various scales:

  • spaces and places;

  • interior and exterior man-made landscapes;

  • mobility flows, which physically transport and virtually interweave bodies and relations;

  • the human dimension, in both its physical and cultural form.

The foundations are historical studies and humanistic culture, scientific analysis and technical innovation, light and colour; the organisational elements that guarantee the mobility of people between different places, spaces and environments the various take on a significant role, as do the tools which aid in the decision-making process that enables projects to be evaluated and the trade-off between the many actors involved in planning processes. The contributions of the history of architecture, art, museography, conservation-restoration of existing heritage, as well as analysis and design, services, materials and a human-centred approach further enhance what the section has to offer.


Via Durando 38/A - 20158 Milano
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Marita Canina,  Paola Checchi, Alberto Colorni, Annalinda De Rosa, Giulia Gerosa, Ilaria Mariani, Francesca Piredda, Lucia Rampino, Anne Schoonbrodt, Carlo Emilio Standoli, Lia Tagliavini

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