26 April 2010

The interviews of l’école de design

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The bilingual (Fr/En) research journal CADI of the highly respected design school L’école de design Nantes/Atlantique in the French city of Nantes is a worthwhile treat, as each issue contains four in-depth interviews with professional authorities who worked with their graduating students. A dedicated blog (also in English) provides extra materials. Here are the highlights:

CADI 2009

“Today flexibility, user-control and end-user programming are key notions in our field.”
Interview with Laurence Nigay, researcher in Computer-Human Interfaces and professor at the University of Grenoble
Laurence Nigay focuses particularly on the human, economic and social issues related to new technologies and the digital economy. She also underlines the essential role of design in the field of “tangible interfaces.

“Design could come into play prior to our activities by contributing to new views and new solutions….”
Interview with Stephen Boucher, public policy consultant
Stephen Boucher, former co-secretary of Notre Europe, a think tank specialising in European politics, and now programme director of the EU Climate Policies Programme (launched by the European Climate Foundation), talks about innovative methods for citizens to debate and make their voices heard. How can we organise information and understand trends?

“In the future techno-literate knowledge architects will be supported by knowledge designers.”
Interview with Henri Samier, researcher in business intelligence and innovation
Henri Samier, head of the Masters in Innovation programme at ISTIA (the engineering school of the University of Angers, France) points out the importance of future research, especially in the field of “economic intelligence”.

“In the food industry, design is the only way to make products stand out.”
Interview with Céline Gallen, marketing researcher
This last interview deals with the changes in our eating habits and how designers collaborate with experts in marketing and semiology in this domain. Céline Gallen teaches marketing at the University of Nantes and studies the mental models of conusmers when purchasing food products.

CADI 2008

“Our future will be shaped by teams of engineers and designers who work hand in hand.”
Interview with Frédéric Kaplan, artificial intelligence researcher
Kaplan, who researches artificial intelligence at the EPFL in Lausanne, talks about how design colludes with artificial intelligence related technologies.

“Design does not anticipate social evolutions nor customs. They start to take shape through it.”
Interview with Annie Hubert, anthropologist
Annie Hubert, an anthropologist specialised in nutrition and eating habits, delves into the topic of how design has become an integral part of our daily lives.

“Medicine that is used more appropriately, thanks to design, will be more efficient.”
Interview with Pascale Gauthier, pharmacy expert
Gauthier explores how design contributes to the evolution of parent/child relationships in pediatric care contexts.

“Even when not dealing with extreme situations, designers must be aware of potential hazards.”
Interview with Marie-Thérèse Neuilly, sociology and psycho-sociology researcher
Neuilly discusses how design can adapt to both natural and technological emergencies.

“We have to engage people to share and create a new history, a new vision of the world.”
Interview with Gaël Guilloux, eco-design researcher
Guilloux, who is a researchers and consultant in eco-design at the Rhône-Alpes Regional Design Centre, talks about how indispensable is to the achievement of sustainable production processes.

“The real challenge is not to conceive user-friendly tools, but to view them within a broader cultural context.”
Interview with Bruno Bachimont, scientific director of the French Audiovisual Institute
How can design explore the cultural and sensitive dimensions of digital legacy, thus going beyond the mere production of functional digital tools? That is the central question in the interview of Bruno Bachimont, scientific director of INA, the French Audiovisual Institute.

Increasingly French design schools like L’école de design and Strate Collège are chosing to provide nearly all its materials also in English, thereby underlining their international ambitions and outreach.

As for the Nantes school, you want to check their programmes on tangible interfaces, ethically responsible innovation, new mobility, virtual reality and “mutations of the built environment“.

Knowing the effort involved, I can only compliment those French design schools for their English language commitments.

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