Bespoke Design – a booklet

Posted by Katrien on Wednesday March 2nd 2016 at 14:45

IMG_20160226_101803After almost 3 years, the PD project Bespoke Design (Design op Maat in Dutch) is finally finished. The insights we gathered during this trajectory are translated in a booklet.

Starting from the everyday experiences of living with type 1 diabetes,  we developed self management tools for and together with one person. In contrast to the common medical and top-down approaches, wherein a ‘universal’ tool is designed for a large group of users, the participatory approach is more in line with the fact that people with diabetes use these tools 24/7, and are thus experts in dealing with this chronic condition.

This booklet gives an insight into the overall design process of Bespoke Design, the challenges involved, the participants and designers who collaborated in this process and the prototypes that were developed. Besides this, the aim of the booklet is to clarify the project’s contributions to the field of participatory and open design practices. The first chapter illustrates how we documented the project, and how sharing this documentation with others allowed these processes and results to transcend this particular project, the participants and team involved. In the second chapter, we assess how participatory making in a FabLab can be a way of extending participation in the making phase, instead of being restricted to the conceptual phase of a design project. Finally, the third chapter describes the need of setting up, maintaining and nurturing long-term relationships and the designer’s role in these processes. We conclude by stating that the changing practices of documenting, participatory making and infrastructuring within Bespoke Design demand a different role for the designer.


Kick-off: Van Zorg(zaam) Onderzoek naar (Zorg)zaam Ontwerp

Posted by Jessica on Monday September 21st 2015 at 13:00

Komende maand wordt het startschot gegeven voor het onderzoeksproject “Van Zorg(zaam) Onderzoek naar Zorg(zaam) Ontwerp”. Binnen dit project begeleiden ervaren onderzoekers van de KU Leuven instellingen, organisaties en bedrijven bij de ambitie om patiënten een zo aangenaam mogelijke ervaring aan te bieden. Dit project is waardevol voor product en/of service designers, architecten, fabrikanten van producten gebruikt in een medische context en ziekenhuisdirecties, die de patiënt echt centraal willen stellen.
De onderzoekers doen een beroep op gegevens die de laatste vier jaar werden verzameld bij “echte” personen in ziekenhuizen. Deze data geven inzicht in de verwachtingen van gebruikers, in de manier waarop de totaalbeleving van patiënten tot stand komt en wat de impact is van materiële en ruimtelijke elementen op die totaalbeleving.
Tijdens het kick-off event wordt een tipje van de sluier opgelicht over het opzet van het project. Er wordt ook dieper ingegaan op de toegevoegde waarde van het gebruik van deze inzichten voor ontwerpers. Daarnaast is er een brainstormsessie over hoe en waar gebruikersinformatie een meerwaarde kan betekenen binnen uw werkgebied.
Dit project verloopt in samenwerking met Flanders In Shape met steun van IWT Vlaanderen.

Inleiding (prof. Ann Heylighen, KU Leuven, Research[x]Design)
De rol van onderzoek in het ontwerpen van (zorg)architectuur (arch. Michiel Verhaegen, osar architecten nv)
Wat heeft onderzoek naar patiëntenbeleving te bieden? (ir. arch. Margo Annemans, KU Leuven, Research[x]Design & osar architecten nv)

Praktische info
1 oktober 2015
Thermotechnisch Instituut, Kasteelpark Arenberg, 3001 Heverlee
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Mapping experiment

Posted by Ben on Tuesday February 21st 2012 at 14:26

As part of my (Ben Hagenaars) research project  Cultivating Communities, I organised a workshop at the NME seminar (Natuur en Milieu educatie dag) in Brussels last week. 25 stakeholders within the field of environment and education participated in the workshop. The aim was to visualise a fictional map of a network between different schools. I used the MAP-it toolkit – developed by social spaces – which normally uses sticker icons to visualise a map. However, I made some alterations since I wanted to add some extra features like building blocks to make the map more tangible. This idea originates from a presentation I took part in during the Sustainable Summer School organised by REcentre last summer. For this presentation we didn’t want to use PowerPoint to visuals our concept – a food system for the city of Maastricht – but we built a miniature city out of materials we could scavenge in the surrounding area. This made it really easy to talk about the food systems with local famers, citizens and other stakeholders. It enabled us to work out a scenario of our concept, but more importantly it enabled other people to ad ideas of their own to the existing map. A fragment of the presentation can be found in this video by REcentre (starting from minute 7:41).

Making Things Visual

Posted by Ben on Wednesday December 7th 2011 at 17:42

Last week I (Ben Hagenaars) followed a thought provoking lecture by Bas Raijmakers at the FAK in Brussels. He is the co-founder of design research agency STBY in Amsterdam & London. He explained his view on what it means to be doing design research. A very interesting topic considering I started my own PhD in design research this year. I have tried to capture his presentation in some sketch-notes.

Bas started by explaining his background. He did a master in Communication Sciences at the University of Amsterdam where he developed his fascination for how people use media & technology. During his Masters he learned about usability research but wanted to go step further. He wanted to experiment with involving the user in the design and research process. This was the starting point for his PhD at the Royal College of Art in London, where he developed his ‘Design Documentaries’ method. This method took the form of a visual storytelling format that brings the everyday life of people into the design process, allowing it to act as a source of inspiration for designers. This method is often used by his design research firm STBY. For example, in a project commissioned by Panasonic called Living Sustainably, STBY researched how people in the US can live a sustainable lifestyle. This isn’t a question they could answer right away. They first had to understand peoples lifestyles and needs. By creating a series of design documentaries, they were able to create videos that communicated a range of intimate insights into their lives and opinions, telling their stories in a way that could both inform and inspire. STBY helped Panasonic to incorporate these insights into their future concept developments and business model development.

Design documentaries start from the idea that understanding is the first step in creating meaningful solutions that could enrich peoples lifestyles. Also, they make things visual, which helps people to understand. Empathy is an important skill in this context, the ability to put yourself in someone else his or her shoes, which really helps to open up to personal experiences that help you understand that persons needs.

Bas focused on the importance of making things visual for designers and artists in a research context. It is a way to express and share their knowledge. It allows not only peers but also people in other disciplines to interpret this knowledge and create new insights. Making an original contribution to knowledge then creates an ongoing debate that pushes interdisciplinary development forward.  Bas pointed out that working in between fields will become increasingly important. Several problems that our society is faced with today, are too complex to be solved within one disciplinary field.

Research through design  is a way of creating new meaning by visual storytelling. This vision raises interesting questions about the role of the designer in society. Should designers limit themselves as the makers of objects, or can they also adopt a new role as the makers of meaning? I think, as Liesbeth Huybrechts pointed out in her Thesis, designers can become makers of hybrid things, creating both objects and meaning.

Methods Lab ‘Ageing in Kensington’

Posted by Liesbeth on Tuesday November 1st 2011 at 13:05

Two Social Spaces researchers and four Media, Arts and Design Faculty students are in London this week to participate in the Royal College of Art Methods Lab ‘Ageing in Kensington’. Tonight we will present our mapping and our Touch of Memory project. A report will follow soon!




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