We hosted EKSIG2017 – Alive. Active. Adaptive

On June 19-20th, Elvin Karana and Prof. Elisa Giaccardi (link to profile) chaired EKSIG2017 (www.eksig2017.com) at the Het Nieuwe Instituut of Rotterdam, together with Prof. Nithikul Nimkulrat (Estonian Academy of Arts), Prof. Kristina Niedderer (University of Woltherhampton). Serena Camere (link to profile) assisted the Organization Board as Pictorials Chair and taking care of the organizational matters. EKSIG is an International Conference organized biannually under the DRS Special Interest Group on Experiential Knowledge. This year we focused on the experiential knowledge of working with emerging materials that are alive, active and adaptive, whether by means of biological or computational processes or an integration of the two. During the two days, the conference hosted three keynote talks from prominent experts of Materials & Design (Prof. Mark Miodownik, Institute of Making; Anna Vallgarda, IT University of Copenhagen; Maurizio Montalti, Officina Corpuscoli) and 26 paper presentations.

Thanks to the collaboration with the Het Nieuwe Instituut, we also enjoyed 6 presentations from design practitioners, highlighting how research on materials is entering their design studios. The conference included also 3 pop-up exhibitions, showcasing the work of designers and participants joining the Conference. In total, 65 participants from 12 different countries (including Japan, US, Brazil) joined the two days of the Conference. The conference showcased high quality content and a timely contribution to the field of materials and design. The debate that went on during the presentations was vivid and it raised few important questions about the future of materials design research. The feedback from our participants was excellent, and we are glad to have hosted such an inspiring and outblowing event!

Hereafter a comment from two special guests:

"EKSIG_2017 has been a unique conference filled with inspiring contributions and stimulating debates. By merging academic research with hands-on approaches, the conference at large allowed to reflect on the fundamental necessity of strengthening even further the connection between theory and practical/experimental approaches, for the generation of a wide range of innovative outcomes, being them (living) materials, systems and/or products. Furthermore, thanks to also the professionally of the organisational team setting up a highly balanced program and to the peculiar location hosting the event, EKSIG _2017 resulted in a successful event filled with content, critical dialogues and a positive and purposive atmosphere, clearly outlining and contributing to partly defining our present-futures.”  (Maurizio Montalti, Officina Corpuscoli)

"EKSIG2017 brought researchers together across the disciplines and generations to hear about leading work on materials design. The quality of the papers was uniformly high, and the opportunities for informal communication and networking were very effectively built into the programme. The venue was excellent (even in the heat…) and the choice of keynotes was inspiring.” (Prof. Tom Fisher, Nottingham Trent University)


We exhibited DIY Materials at CONSTRUMAT 2017 - Barcelona

A selection of the course “Designing Materials Experiences” at Politecnico di Milano, School of Design, was exhibited in the “Materials Visions” exhibition by Materfad, in the space Future Arena at the Construmat fair 2017, in Barcelona, from May 23 to May 26, 2017. This event had more than 70.000 visitors from the architecture, interior design and construction sectors.

The selected projects are the results of an on-going research on DIY materials, in the scope of unfolding their qualities and aesthetics, and novel practices and scenarios around them. Most of these self-produced and open materials are made from waste resources and have social and sustainable purposes.

Other pictures of the exhibition are available here.

Projects by: Ioanna Oikonomou, Marina Psimikaki, Yang Yudan, Marta Ziminska, Carolina Giorgiani, Jinan Jezzini, Veronica Vetrila, Davide Del Favero, Eileen Krüger, Valeria Munda, Setareh Salehi, Juuso Koski, Dicle Aslan, Dinullah Bayu Ibrahim, Shao Yizhuo, Betul Unal.

We exhibited a DIY Material project at INTERZUM 2017 - Cologne

A selected project from the course “Designing Materials Experiences” at Politecnico di Milano, School of Design, was exhibited in a material show by Haute Innovation, at the Interzum fair 2017, in Cologne, from May 16 to May 19, 2017.

With over 57.000 visitors the Interzum is the world’s leading trade fair for furniture production and interior design. This exhibition showcased material innovation projects in the fields of upcycling, bio-based solutions and energy harvesting.

The selected project is the initial result of an on-going research on DIY materials from waste textile resources, in the scope of unfolding their qualities and aesthetics and reach a full material development, triggering social and sustainable practices.

Project by: Eileen Krüger, Valeria Munda, Setareh Salehi, Juuso Koski.

We exhibit Mycelium-Based Materials at INSPOMAT/ TU DELFT

The INSPOMAT platform at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, TU Delft, hosts a very inspiring exhibition from one of our core team members, Davine Blauwhoff, who has recently completed her master’s studies with a graduation project focusing on ‘Designing with Mycelium Based Materials: Forecasting Acceptance’. Funded by NWO-Research Through Design (RtD) Program, this collaborative research project aims at developing mycelium-based materials for product design through iterative cycles of design research and practice.

Best Pictorial Award at Designing Interactive Systems 2016

Dr. Elvin Karana and prof. Elisa Giaccardi the IDE recently the Best Pictorial Award may receive during the 'ACM SIGCHI conference on Designing interactive systems (DIS). They received this award for their paper 'The Tuning of Materials: A Designer's Journey. "

In this paper, the redesign of a connected object (radio tailored for expat families) are described and discussed, with special emphasis on the performative qualities of the materials (ie what materials make us do) to the ideation of a design. 

With two talented IO alumni, Niels Stamhuis and Jasper Goossensen illustrate Elvin and Elisa this search visually, with a focus on the design process.  



During DIS 2016 were the ways in which designers create interactive systems, deploy and critically consider central. The conference from 4-8 June, held in Brisbane (Australia).

Best Paper Award at Design & Emotion 2016

At the last International Conference on Design & Emotion (Amsterdam 27-30th September), Serena Camere won the Best Paper Award for the article “Materializing experiential visions into sensory properties: the use of the Experience Map”, co-authored with Rick Schifferstein (IDE department) and Monica Bordegoni (Politecnico di Milano). The paper describes the use of a tool Serena developed in her PhD research, to help designers transform their initial, conceptual intentions into tangible products.


About Design&Emotion Conference

The International Design & Emotion Society, together with Delft University of Technology, University of Twente, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Design Academy Eindhoven, and Waag Society are pleased to invite researchers, design practitioners, and the general public interested in the cross-disciplinary field of design and emotion to participate in and attend the 10th International Conference on Design & Emotion in Amsterdam, September 27-30 of 2016.

This invitation goes out to the broad field of design researchers and practitioners and extends to communities beyond design studies, such as social science, humanities, engineering, computer science, HCI, psychology, cognitive science, health sciences, marketing and business.
The International Conference on Design & Emotion is a forum held every other year where practitioners, researchers and industry leaders meet and exchange knowledge and insights concerning the cross-disciplinary field of design and emotion.

Architect Magazine: Interview About the Use of Sustainable Materials in Design

Dr. Elvin Karana was recently interviewed by the renowned magazine Architect, on ‘DIY Design Makers Are Taking On Materials’. In the interview, she shared her vision on the futures of materials in design, and states that: “We see an ever-increasing number of examples that illustrate challenging couplings of materials science, design, engineering, and the social sciences for a common purpose of ‘design for meaningful material experiences’.”

Strawberry Earth Interviews Elvin Karana

Strawberry Earth interviewed Dr. Elvin Karana under the ‘Sustainable Mastermind’ series, on her endeavour to valorise the use of sustainable materials in design. Elvin had also recently been interviewed by the renowned magazine Architect, on ‘DIY Design Makers Are Taking On Materials’.


Strawberry Earth

Under the series of ‘Sustainable Masterminds’, Strawberry Earth interviewed Dr. Elvin Karana. She was introduced as: “She is on a mission to promote sustainable design materials, such as natural fibre composites, and to release them from their shady boxes, into the limelight.”

Strawberry Earth is a sustainability platform that seeks to inspire people to have a positive impact on their environment, both at home and work. It runs projects that fast forward the transition to a fair and green economy by focusing on the creative industries. They also launched the Strawberry Earth Academy in 2014, which is an international academy for experienced fashion and design professionals. 

In the interview, Elvin explained

“[…] Over the last decade, the deployment of sustainable product design has led to a dramatic increase in the use of biobased materials and materials made of waste, as an environmentally-sensitive substitute for petroleum-based ones. Being in the materials and design domain for a considerable time, I was naturally tempted to explore the roles of materials on a sustainable future.” 

Interaction Design workshop in University of Tehran

Aadjan van der Helm and Bahareh Barati held a 5-day workshop on the topic of Interaction Design (9th-14 Apr) in Kish Island. Forty Bachelor-level and Master-level students participated in the workshop. The workshop involved both lectures and practical sessions to familiarize students with tools and methods developed in IDE, on social design and interaction design.  The students were provided with a theoretical lens to explore and identify social interaction dilemmas in public spaces such as restaurants and offices. Some of the social interaction dilemmas found by the students included Œdilemma of using mobile phones instead of enjoying friend¹s company in restaurants¹ and Œdilemma of changing the temperature of an office environment according to individual¹s preference¹.  Nine teams of students used techniques, such as writing narratives, acting scenarios and making quick prototypes to explore the solution space. For example, one group came up with an idea to connect the customers to the restaurant chef, by allowing them to express their (dis)satisfaction to the chef through tangibly interacting with their plates. Another example was a working prototype of a mobile phone collector at the center of a restaurant table. In an idle state, a rotating light movement was considered to caused visual disturbance, thus encouraged people to place their mobiles and get a nice calm light as a reward. On the last day, the projects were exhibited in the main hall of the University, open to a large number of students and lecturers to experience 9 working prototypes. The workshop was closed with a panel discussion, in which students shared their experiences and insights on the workshop. The collaboration proved to be very useful for students, in learning the basics of prototyping with technology and the effect of early prototyping and iterations on conceptualizing and reflecting, and opening up the conceptions on what can be done with technologies involving light and touch (e.g. LEDs and touch sensors) in terms of expression and experience.

We were at the Dutch Design Week with Drop of Light!

A light emitting umbrella, a modular game console, a 3D printed Tom Dumoulin and a cuddling robot against insomnia. A small selection from the various projects exhibited at ’Mind the Step’ during the DDW. Have a look into a new world in which high quality design is incorporated visibly or invisibly!

For the third time, 4TU research centre Design United and TU Eindhoven organise the exhibition ‘Mind the Step’, where you can see and experience how research, design and technology can result in designs for the future. The exhibition is on display at Strijp-S, Klokgebouw 50 in Eindhoven, during the Dutch Design Week from 22 until 30 October.