Ph.D. Candidate - Politecnico di Milano, Department of Design, Italy
Ziyu Zhou is a Ph.D. candidate in Politecnico di Milano, Department of Design. Through analyzing the teaching and learning process on materials in design, she is devoting her research on exploring what materials and material education can bring to design students, and, most importantly, how do they work. She is committed to clarifying the explanation on relationships mainly between materials experience and the design teaching and learning activities.
Prior to this, in 2015, Ziyu obtained her Bachelor degree in Industrial design in Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China. In the same year, she starts her Master study in Product Service System Design in Politecnico di Milano, Department of Design, Italy. During her study, she gained lots of experience and skills on product design and design thinking through a series of national projects / international design competitions. Also, she has proficient communication abilities as a designer through learning under differentiated cultures. In 2016, she attended the course “Designing Materials Experience” by Valentina Rognoli and started her story on materials and design fortunately. After one year in 2017, she got her Master degree through the graduation project: DIY bioplastic Club. With the integration of her knowledge in DIY materials, product design, service system design and interactive design, through designing a toolkit on enabling people to make their personalized DIY bioplastics, she started her research on how people view and use the materials experience to enrich their ideas and design.
The main topics of Ziyu’s research and practice are situated in the intersection between: The generic process, methodologies and spaces in educating design students on materials and through materials;  Emerging activities applying material experience into design education;  Development and creative practices in material-driven design;  Multisensory design with materials;  self-production, DIY, trans-disciplinary practices for materials generation.
MATERIAL EDUCATION FOR DESIGN
The relationship between materials and design is already being clarified by many scholars. With the perspective-changes on material and design in the past and the present, material potentially influences on our views on design. Nowadays, the education of materials for design is not restrained in listing the knowledge about materials and their technical attributes which can fit design, but emphasized on guiding students to learn how to provoke experience to users, with different choices of materials or even create new materials. Sensorial-expressive characterization of materials is getting more attention from design educators and students in the start of material investigations. Starts from these viewpoints towards materials in design and design education in recent years, this research will take our sight onto how could material drive innovation and facilitate the higher design education, through inspiring students’ design thinking and gaining design their design abilities comprehensively.
Zhou, Z., Rognoli, V., Ayala-Garcia, C. (2018). Educating designers through Materials Club. Proceedings of 4th International Conference on Higher Education Advances (HEAd’18). http://dx.doi.org/10.4995/HEAd18.2018.8206