Civitella d’Agliano,

October 21-27  2012

studio Luk van der Hallen

The subject  ‘Experiences/Experiments’ refers to the goals of an IDEM workshop: by working on a given project, now called ‘co-creating’, professors, professionals and students in (product) design learn about each others design methods, visions, values and culture. One cannot participate without an open creative mind and the willingness to learn, to use the given context, to experiment and ‘crossover’ to other disciplines and means of communication.

Experience Design

First there is the general design related context. Nowadays designed products go beyond the pure functional and aim at giving the user experiences not only in the physical but also in the mental sense. This is what we call ‘Experience Design’. Besides being in a symbiotic relationship with our body, as if products were true body extensions, products also aim at a sensitive, emotional and ‘intellectual’ relationship with the user.  How this noble addition, which is considered to help the products durability, has to be achieved is only possible by developing designs in close collaboration with the different users. For understanding and generating compelling new answers for this matter the ‘New’ designer is needed. He creates not only with a certain strategy and method, based on research and given data, but also with an open mind and experiment, with materials, shapes, colours: a practice led design. Within the implications of the contemporary context, the cultural, the human, the social, the economical and the ethical.

The international workshop for students, professionals and teachers in Design was held in Civitella D’Agliano,

a tradional village in Italy. Participants co-create in small international working groups on the theme of ‘Experience/Experiments’ and show the findings at the final day, the design process is guided by the teachers and professionals.

Design Expertise and Experiments

A second interpretation is about the professional expertise that is needed to lecture design. Given the short time to work, IDEM workshops have been proven very creative and joyful. Essential to the success is certainly the multicultural or multidisciplinary working in groups, and the discussions and creative answers that came from that IDEM-format. Another aspect is the open attitude and the experimental atmosphere. Anything seems to be possible. In order to find the essence of good practices in Design Thinking and Teaching we would like to start the discussion in this IDEM workshop.

What is the process, the activities and encounters that take place on the different levels when we are designing? There is an individual, inner dialogue, the defining of the problem in objective terms and there is the use of design knowledge to make a list of intentions and values to a certain audience. The connections between theory and practice, as well between the ‘creative’ and the ‘critical’ will be an interesting theme of discussion, which can clear the mysteries that hang around the more ‘artistic’, ‘free’, ‘hybrid’ or ‘queer’ practices that are in use everywhere.

And all of these formal, explorative, interpretative and reflective ‘skills’ and ‘methods’ can be considered as true research practices and they go beyond the so called privileged conventional research.