Lists of the PhD students and of the PhD graduates who have earned the degree at the Department of Design, organized by cycle.
PhD students & graduates
November 2022 – October 2025
The research focuses on the sustainability for the high jewelry sector. In particular, it investigates the relationship between the high jewelry brand Bulgari and sustainability issues. The aim of the research is to provide guidelines to facilitate sustainable practices in the jewelry supply chain of Bulgari. The research involves the environmental, social and economic sustainability analysis and the identification of critical issues and opportunities for Bulgari.
Within the current participatory media landscape fostering the infodemic, the research explores the ways information visualizations can -with or without the intention to- mislead and deceive during social crises. The focus is on information visualizations circulating on social media platforms about Covid-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The research encourages the discussion around the un-neutrality of information visualizations by developing a theoretical framework which defines and classifies the types of ``visualization disorders``.
What is a ‘political space’? What could it be? And what role does a spatial designer play in defining and envisioning such a place? Trying to answer these questions, the research aims to generate a definition of ‘political space’ in Western urban cosmo-local contexts and to open a discussion around the role of spatial design practitioners in the field.
The PhD project aims to explore and frame the emerging themes and initiatives related to the city of proximity based on the spread of new hybrid communities and enabling platforms that are rapidly impacting the urban environment and defining new ways of living in the cities by enhancing new relational hybrid proximities. The PhD aims to investigate transformative social innovations through Systemic Service Design and Relational Design by supporting and guiding collaborations and relationships.
Disruptive socio-political, cultural, and technological changes are transforming everything known. According to this scenario, are fashion consumption cultures still surviving? In which direction has the relationship between fashion products, services and consumers and territories evolved? What are the drivers of change and innovation? How does design relate to innovation processes in fashion retail? Which ones are his interlocutors? What are the skills and competencies needed for the designer to take part in meaningful social, cultural, economical and technological innovation processes in fashion retail?
The scope of the research is to design innovative products from a technological and ethical point of view by investigating problems of our present that will shape our future. The first goal, focused on privacy, is twofold: to protect facial biometric data and create awareness of the improper use of facial recognition technology, a problem which, if neglected, could freeze the rights of the individual. We are working on a textile woven with a protective algorithm to prevent the citizens' biometric data from being collected.
The research focuses on enabling design practitioners and entrepreneurs in accelerating and scaling up “emerging materials for the ecological transition” (understood as biobased, waste-based and biofabricated), from their ideation, design and development to their meaningful use in sustainable product design applications. Furthermore, through a Material-Driven Design approach, it explores their materials experience, their features and how these all influence the degree of acceptance by users.
The research topic is about answering the need for people-centered chronic care, by enhancing the capacity of care ecosystems providers for resource integration/ activations in the context of service design. The research aim is to use and bring the service design practices in order to define and integrate the resources to provide a change for and within the care ecosystem.
The scope of this research is to demonstrate that through the design strategies, the textile industry can intercept the needs of users interested in green themes, who also pretend performances by textiles; in this way, it will also be possible to involve ``non-green consumers``.
Durability is not only a matter of materials and technologies; we consider the value of design as a product life extender also based on the ``non-material properties`` of the clothes.
The intervention areas will be material strategies such as product life-cycle or non-material such as emotional durability to encourage behavioural change.
With the development of Connected Autonomous Vehicle (CAV), the revolutionary technology that is considered as a driver of social sustainability, humans will become less involved in driving activities, while in-car human behavior will be diverse.
As such, the human-car relationship is bound to change disruptively, and among which, emotion is a fascinating topic. This PhD research aims to explore UX design strategies to achieve a meaningful human-vehicle emotional connection.
Thanks to the media revolution, time became portable and elastic, in a culture dominated by the use of smartphones, time dissolved the boundaries between day and night, work and leisure, space and time, and the way of people's shopping and socialising. This research aims to investigate a time-based approach to develop the strategies of retail space design under the emerging smart city and digital scenarios with considering human centric and social impact to improve the quality of human-spatial interaction.
The research explores how sense-based performance in interior spaces could be understood, measured, and evaluated, in which the field of Design could create tools for measuring and customizing the experience of sense in the interior spaces. These tools will be represented as design KPIs for human behavior performance in interiors based on human senses that designers and companies could follow/use from the beginning of the design process not only in the user experience phase. Her research is filling the gap of the lack of having interior design KPIs built on sense-based performance compared to the existing KPIs related to sustainability, saving energy, etc.
The PhD core is the humanisation of technology, detecting the user as the protagonist, to promote sustainable behaviour when interacting with AI- Infused Objects, considering the UX aspects of the object.
Ubiquitous computing elicits an endless range of internet-enabled devices, offering the potential to the user to be more diligent in energy use, except that it creates an ever-growing web of data-consuming objects that stay on forever. The PhD aims to set design guidelines for sustainable connected objects.
Visions of a future led by modernity standards are embedded with determinations of gender, race, and technology. This one-sided pursuit for innovation consolidates the status quo by imposing its values systemically. Trend research sets the bases for any project in most design methodologies, also based on neo-colonial ideals. Decolonizing this practice is imminent to obtain a plural future that represents multiple realities, breaking the imperial predominance that this discipline seizes today.
Her research topic is ``Service Design to promote a systemic and transformational perspective of well-being,`` especially for multi-level (individual and collective) and sustainable (long-term impact) well-being in the context of public services. Her research aims to use Service Design to adopt and reach toward a systemic perspective of well-being to facilitate public services transformation.
The research topic concerns the thematic of “improving Users’ Experience of museum exhibitions through Digital Technologies”. Up to date, the main focus of her research refers to the possibility to define guidelines and implement tools that can be suitable for supporting the Co-Design between different actors, of digital, interactive, immersive, and multisensory experiences in the context of GLAM exhibitions.
In relation to the needs emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic, the research aims to analyze and define a taxonomy of future workplace patterns and their role in the urban context as a place of collaboration and collision.
The doctoral research focuses on the development of the sense community between local citizens, companies, and employees from a spatial design perspective.
Nowadays the digital technology in museums and temporary exhibitions is one of the most important aspect able to improve the narrative and engage the audience. In particular this research proposal is focused on the design of the sound intended both as a content (museums and temporary exhibitions on sounds, music or movie subjects) and as a tool of narratives (the sound as a way to express contents). This research aims at studying how the sound system in museums can be an interesting field of experimentation for exhibition designers and interaction designers in envisioning new models of immersive cultural experiences.
The research project aims to achieve better hospice care by building a new collaborative service framework. It also attempts to use this collaborative caregiving process as a service encounter to build closer interpersonal relationships and strengthen community proximity.
November 2020 – October 2023
The historical framework of Italian design is not only linked to icons and masters, but is made up of a plurality of professionals, projects and companies that are united by the polytechnic culture, that complex cultural milieu between humanistic knowledge, science, technology and business. The aim of my research project is to study the polytechnic culture by highlighting the work of designers who have been part of it and who have not been sufficiently studied until now.
This research aims to create an “organic waste network/platform” able to supply waste and biodegradable products that could be turned into “raw materials”. In this regard, the research will focus on the identification, classification and mapping of a series of waste products with properties that enable them to be reintegrated in scalable production processes and to create new sustainable materials suitable for design and consumption products.
Efficient design can be used to solve problems in our society and technology, as a ubiquitous part of our society, is a cultural expression that is embedded in it. The PhD focuses on how user interfaces and data have a discursive role in portraying and interpreting society, while constructing a system in which designers don’t have the right tools to consider the political power of the platforms they design, and not all users have the right knowledge to act on what they inadvertently produce.
The research proposal explores design for Social Innovation and Spatial Design aiming at increasing social well-being in heterogeneous city-frames, made up of different users and communities and at supporting creative temporary actions for the long-term regeneration of commons. Expected result is the development of guidelines for policy makers and for citizens to promote new city-making scenarios, through legacy of actions as a distinctive quality.
The research fits into the area of intersection between Communication Design and Gender Studies, with a particular focus on the role of designers as socio-cultural actors. In a framework characterised by the growing attention to gender issues, the Phd's research means to offer long-term responses to the appeals and policies that the the European Union has made in recent years (2017/2210(INI); 2008/2038(INI)) to fight gender stereotypes in the media.
The doctoral research is aimed at studying the orientation processes in general terms and, in particular, in urban public places. The research question stems from the observation of the inadequacy of current orientation systems, mostly entrusted to signage artifacts that do not always respond efficiently to the needs of users.
The research project aims to explore how the circular economy framework is used by community-led projects on the local scale, and identify its mechanisms to activate new participation systems and, thus, establish long-lasting behaviors in activism. The goal of the research is to design and implement a participation model for facilitation and support of community-led projects, as well as build a theoretical framework for the social dimension of circular economy in the urban context.
Different scholars affirm that we are living the transition from the Information Age to the Imagination Age, in which creativity and imagination are going to become the most relevant drivers and skills for every human activity, to address a shrinking landscape of wicked issues, to live in a fast changing technological society. The research will investigate the role of imagination in shaping design models and approaches suitable to achieve sustainable transition towards responsible futures.
The main goal of the PhD is to develop a material selection method for the packaging sector capable to meet both the need and the request of different stakeholders (like producer, environment and final users) and to use the Strategic Design theories and tools to foresee already in the selection stage long-term strategies for the company related to the introduction and use of a new sustainable material.
This doctoral research aims to propose a framework for the theory and practice of Speculative Services by combining Speculative Design and Service Design and integrating the System Oriented Design. In the context of transformation to an inclusive society, the Speculative Services approach enables policymakers and civics to understand, explore, discuss and reflect on the topic of social exclusion to promote the inclusive development of society.
To develop a complementary methodology to support Knitwear latest technological innovations including predictive modelling softwares.
The research proposes to reconcile the contributions of the design, systems and complexity science, and public policy fields to articulate a non-linear framework of policy-making that addresses the limitations of existing ‘stage-based’ models. Subsequently, the research seeks to understand the elements of the ‘policy craft’ and the organisational transformation necessary to systematically embody and enact the framework.
Federico’s PhD research explores the potential of design capabilities as catalysts for generative power within urban environments, intending to create social value. The aim is addressing the role of design in fostering productive and bilateral collaborations between public administration and citizens. The research objective is to frame citizen engagement within the design discipline and empower urban networks with novel capabilities to co-create socially sustainable interventions.
Although digital technologies and sustainability are assuming a key role for the design of new artifacts, their integration in the design practice is still challenging. My PhD research aims to investigate the link between design, materials and additive manufacturing for sustainability. Thanks to a design engineering experimental approach, new materials from wastes and emerging design strategies for 3D printing will be analyzed to develop new tools for their integration in the design practice.
The research project is part of a study context that analyzes the relationships between objects and the body. It want to respond to the growing tendency of hybridization between the body and artifacts that amplify its performance, monitor its conditions or, in general, interact with it. Particular attention is paid to those devices that aim at the well-being of the human body and, specifically, the research investigates the role of the fashion designer in their design.
My research is co-funded by the Museo Nazionale Scienza e Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci in Milan and it bridges Science and Technology Studies, Museum Studies, and Design. It aims at understanding how narratives about media objects in the collections are constructed and negotiated in and out of the museum, in relation to the objects’ multiple roles in technoscientific heritage, as design objects and historical artefacts, and in communities of people, companies, and institutions.
The research aims at understanding how the digital sphere could be experienced and exploited to augment the cultural value of fashion heritage, investigating how the diffusion of culture could be promoted and fostered in the fashion sector in light of the digital transformation and the pervasiveness of networks and social media platforms.
The application of Digital Technologies and Virtual Reality to the valorisation of architectural heritage will break through the limitations of traditional protection methods and make architectural heritage live through digital preservation. My research will take Chinese architectural heritage as an example to find a new way for the protection and development of architectural heritage.
With the improvement of automation, due to the lack of communication with human road users (HRU), people are worried about sharing streets with AVs, which hinders users' acceptance of this technology and leads to security risks.Therefore, this research aims to explore the design potential of HMI in AVs to increase user acceptance of the technology.
November 2019 – October 2022
Many organizations in recent years have used design thinking as a competitive leverage. However, very often this adoption refers to a partial absorption of design within the company. There are still many doubts about how to really integrate it, avoiding that it becomes a temporary adoption with short-term impacts. PhD research will investigate what are the inertial factors that do not get design thinking off the ground, being not able to fully integrate it inside organisational processes.
How smart technologies are radically changing the spatial design of new cruise ships
The significant premise of the research is the transition in the cruise sector from 'Fun ships' to 'Smart ships'. The general aim of the doctoral thesis is to investigate the development of the interior design of the common spaces in cruise vessels, with a focus to the supply of digital technologies and smart materials in these areas and their contribution to the information and the entertainment of the customers, in the perspective of a better sustainable process in vessel design.
Within a digitalized global ecosystem, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies transform cities into metabolic services systems, that can be controlled by a data-driven technological infrastructure. The design discipline is fundamental to materialize new collaborative city scenarios, where to rethink the human-artificial relation. Within this emerging scenario the doctoral research has the aim of imagining a new experimental service design model of action.
Further research is needed to determine if and how the identified factors are interrelated and how the factors can be Improved in practice. This study will explore the relationship between multiple factors that affect the sense of home of the elderly with dementia from the perspective of environmental factors, and develop a more comprehensive design strategy to shape the sense of home in long-term care institution based on environmental factors.
Emergent technologies are generating profound transformations in the
fashion industry, driving a paradigm shift. Fashion SMEs are struggling in
adopting such technologies, reducing their opportunities to develop more
competitive and customer-driven actions. The PhD research will identify skill
gaps and barriers that are limiting fashion SMEs in catching digital revolution
opportunities and, accordingly, will develop methods and approaches to
I work on Design for Sustainability, mainly focus on sustainable furniture. My research centers on products Life Cycle Design(LCD) and Sustainable Product-Service System(S.PSS), trying to find a solution for an unsustainable development model in the traditional furniture industry.
The research is based on Chinese and Italian background because of the representative role of the two countries both in the developing model and the motivation of sustainability.
Speculative Design researchers have used Design Fiction proposals and methodologies in an attempt to provoke discursive debate about future technological and socioeconomic challenges. Still, there is a room for development in the area of Design Fiction application from a participatory Human-Centred paradigm. The aim of the PhD is to investigate the Design Fiction practice as well as exploring and proposing an alternative framework for design futures using Design Fiction as a tool for innovation.
The aim of this study is to clarify how design can lead innovation in this complex world settings. Bridging business and innovation management, humanities-social scientific knowledges with design research, he is going to challenge to explore fundamentals of design to lead innovation. And also, he tries to give clearer explanations about designers’ new functions, as mediators between the different knowledge cores to produce innovation.
Vanessa’s PhD research regards the topic of 'Civic Design', intending to build a relevant theoretical framework to be translated into tools and/or procedures to be applied into real projects. In particular, the research is exploring the meanings of the concept of 'civic', what it means to 'design civically' and how to do it, especially from the point of view of public administrations.
The choice of material is a key factor in the environmental impact of both products and services; for the same reason it can also become the turning point in terms of innovation and sustainability for future productions. My PhD research is based on the redefinition of the concept of sustainability through the lens of materials and will investigate the frontiers that the project applied to the material can achieve in the definition of a new materiality.
In a world where Artificial Intelligence is becoming tangible, primarily according to technology-driven principles, my research aims to look for solutions to meaningfully integrate AI in our ordinary life. The approach will be cross-disciplinary, taking into account design pillars as well as innovatively intersecting Artificial Intelligence, Environmental Psychology and Emotional Design theories, to allow our domestic environment to bring positive emotions instead of frustration.
Her PhD research investigates both the innate and learned processes of knowledge, drawing on the study of neuroscience and cybernetics, with the desire to identify in which phase of the process narrative can be inserted. The will is to create a theoretical model of learning through narration, which allows artificial intelligence (AI) to fit into a specific social context, through the construction of an evolutionary experiential knowledge.
The aim of the doctoral research is to investigate the emerging phenomenon of training in service design. In order to do so, the research will inquiry how the discipline is being taught and the implication of the growing demand for training in Service Design on the competences required and comprehending how changes in the education field (such as digital technologies) could benefit the process of learning. Thus, it will explore future development on the training in Service Design.
The relationship between human beings and non-human agents is still extremely precarious, especially in those human settlements where urbanization and anthropization reduced the possibility of interactions with different living entities. The PhD research investigate the role of Design and its methods, approaches and tools to foster people awareness in perceiving human and non-human agents as an interdependent collective based on mutual help and care.
November 2018 – October 2021
The general aim of my research is to investigate the relationship between aesthetics of interaction and user’s awareness in intelligent-systems-users interaction. In particular, I aim to study how the sensory language of interactive systems can be designed to foster user’s critical faculty, with special regard to ethical judgement and behaviour-change in the face of socially sensitive issues (e.g., energy consumption).
Experimenting the role of design in the development of a Sustainable Apparel Supply Chain Model (SASCM).
The proposed doctoral research focus is the role of design in guiding the possible directions for the future development of FDfS sector: the passage through a holistic paradigm that, considering the supply chain as a continuum, can imagine a designers' mindset transformation for guiding in the development of an alternative, circular, and sustainable apparel supply chain model within the fashion context.
The research will develop a methodological framework aimed at raising awareness among non-expert users of biased machine learning models.
The research will explore the relationship between communication design and explainable machine learning applied to automatic classification of text or picture. Being machine learning models for text and images classification frequently biased due to mental models and personal experience of experts that train them, the research will investigate how data visualisation and communication design can funnel the perception of reliance and doubt.
My research proposes the development of a Colour Design Training Itinerary as a complete educational framework (intended learning outcomes, contents, methodology, teaching and learning activities, and assessment strategies) that sets out different levels of action for the teaching and learning of colour in the design discipline. This is being done with special attention to observation and direct experience as a way to inspire the consideration of colour phenomena within the design practice.
Her doctoral research aims to understand and decode ‘atmosphere’ as a particular spatial condition and to elaborate an interpretation of the atmospheric phenomenon in the specific field of temporary exhibition spaces.
The project objective is to set up a codified design methodology and approach that contributes to the integration of the concept of atmosphere within exhibition environment design and to build a reference lexicon to establish a better understanding of the exhibition space.
Communication Design can provide new answers to the search for a conceptual resolution between the ideas of 'places of memory' and 'memory of places', focusing on the notion of mnemotope. The term lexically resolves this source of tension and mnemotopes can be considered culturalized object of territorial interpretation. Design for mnemotopic communication, founded on map-based systems, can interpret memory of places and succeed in translating and reactivating territorial stratifications.
Touchpoints are one of the essential aspects of service design. In our daily life, services are delivered via multiple touchpoints. The turning point is the time at which a situation starts to change significantly, and it could happen under innovation. Nowadays, cities are operating based on ‘take-make-disposal’ system, and the waste is hastily disposed to landfill or incineration. The urgent action is needed to implement a model that fosters technological, social and organizational innovation for sustainability. In the light of this, then circular economy is seen as a potential solution to design out waste. My doctoral research will focus on how can we use service design to disrupt sustainable business models and system structures.
Modern design, no longer the design of “objects”, has transformed into a kind of design strategy. China is confronted with the imbalanced urban-rural development, but the modern design has not yet studied in-depth China’s rural society or urban-rural relationship. The monotonous design practice lacks its due audience in the countryside, and the existing theories and analysis of rural design are far from satisfying. His PhD research is focuses on studying the possibility of sustainable interactive strategy of China’s urban-rural resources from the perspective of design. To be more specific, to research on the inclusive and sustainable space design that strengthens the interaction between urban and rural areas.
The research will develop a methodological framework aimed at innovating processes of understanding, analysis and development for policy making in urban ecosystems. In order to do so, the research will investigate the emerging field of “design for policy”, specifically by looking at the role of digital data and technologies for their interpretation and visual representation.
The research project intends to investigate and to redefine the role of design as a central element for the development of a renewed Italian fashion system, not only thanks to new technologies but also to a broader political vision.
Design therefore as a motor to redefine a set of processes, capable of giving new life to the fashion sector and thus favouring the re-birth of Made in Italy epicentres capable of generating new ecosystems (linked to the educational, the production and the cultural systems) and thus realize a renewed Italian creative economy.
By electing the urban space as a metaphor of the space of the mind, it’s clear how in many authors of the psychoanalytic world, as Ernest Hartmann, the processes of representation and metaphorization are in themselves processes of growth, development and change. Hence, the internalization of the point of view of other authors (e.g. Massimo Recalcati, Massimo Schinco), can contribute to the introduction of new visions and to the evolution of tools and methods in the design of public spaces.
The doctoral research contributes to the discussion about relationships between Spatial and Service Design and how these two disciplines can interact to achieve more complexity within the context of Public Interiors: empowering the spatially contained environments inside civic buildings, institutions, cultural buildings, mobility infrastructures; threshold between the urban public and the private context, enhancing it actions of spatial design, building relation to services and programs.
I am researching on the topic of collaborative design-based learning in culturally plural Higher Design Education settings because I want to find out how this formative experience fosters the students’ acquisition of intercultural collaborative competences. The ultimate aim of my research is to help design teachers and instructors to understand how the implementation of teaching strategies could contribute to integrate these competences within design-based learning courses.
The material selection process affects design decisions to the very early beginning. The use of a specific material instead of others implies consequences at every level of the production flow. A proper material selection.
This activity is not as simple as it may seem and it is often considered as tedious and time-consuming task to execute. Moreover, it becomes more articulated when the theme of material substitution occurs.
The PhD research investigates the importance of design as enabler of technology in development of digital products for behavioural change and in envisioning scenarios able to face new societal challenges. A research through design approach based on design fiction will foresee the use of persuasive technologies for investigation of future scenarios. These scenarios will be explored with users through digital artefacts developed by exploiting new manufacturing processes.
Even though the mass digitization of museum content is useful for creating digital libraries and making the content publically available, it is still not serving the real purpose of Cultural Heritage (CH) preservation and promotion. The aim of this project is to efficiently use the digitized museum artefacts to design new modes of interaction between people (visitors, scholars and curators) and cultural assets by linking the latter with interdisciplinary information and implementing augmented reality (AR) as a tool to promote them.
While the design work on public services for the implementation of policies is now considered a matter of design, scholars advocate for a deeper study of the design work on informing, formulating and reframing policies. This research seeks to understand the role of design in the early stages of the policy-making process by depicting in this process the design work and methods used by public sector innovation teams from different continents.
The fundamental goal of interior design education is to prepare students for the profession of interior design by teaching skills and knowledge. In recent years, the interior design profession has changed significantly. Because interior designers take many different approaches to meet the demands of rapidly changing society and diverse requirements of clients, interior design education has been specialized in diverse ways (Interior Design, 2004).
The purpose of his doctoral research is to explore ways of comparing interior design education in Italy and China. The aim of study may have significant contributions to both countries and the people who are associated with interior design fields such as professors, students, professional designers and their employers. This study could be a good pilot study for testing different methods related to the construction of comparison between educational programs in different cultural backgrounds.
Serious games are “games that do not have entertainment, enjoyment or fun as their primary purpose”. Serious Game designers use people’s interest in video games to capture their attention for a variety of purposes that go beyond pure entertainment. Serious game emerges playful experience, which is recognized as a way of achieving innovation and creativity. It helps people see things differently or achieve unexpected results. A playful approach can be applied to even the most serious or difficult subjects. The research now focuses on bridging the gap between serious intention and game-play experience though a game design method called ``purpose shifting``.