Design for Ecosystemic Spaces


OIKOS research group focuses its scientific activity on a multidisciplinary network mainly crossing Design, Product Engineering and Ecotechnology in a close collaboration with the enterprise sector to create opportunities of a sustainable innovation in which design is ‘added value’, favouring connections between people/materials/processes. The main area of research is the inhabitation of designed spaces in a broad sense, namely, the meaning of space as oikos, i.e., involving home, working and leisure culture and its artifacts, devices, goods and atmospheres.


The research of this group is framed in the ideals of the European agenda of designing future societies with new approaches and insights including sustainability and digital change, two major shifts happening simultaneously. Within the challenges of the contemporary society about space as oikos, this research group aims to produce and disseminate knowledge that contributes to boost the values of a responsible design in collaboration with the industry towards a more reflexive and ecologic society. The design of future societies within such goals intends to generate a more critical attitude towards consumerism, supporting more authenticity and less waste in the daily life decisions regarding the inhabitation of spaces, since the domestic environment till the collective and public spaces. To reduce the damage to ecosystems, it requires improvement in economic performance and technologic methods and processes. This project also draws attention to the phenomenology of design aiming for a holistic perception about the ‘designed complex world’ and the interface with it.

Therefore the research developed by this group intends to respond mainly to:
/how to take advantage of new and emerging technologies and manufacturing processes within the industry 4.0 scenario in order to design and produce better smart products through smart and connected industrial systems at the same time contributing to reduce pressure on ecosystems.
/the application of new and emerging materials into habitable spaces in order to improve users' experience while conciliating digital revolution aspirations and potentialities with social, economic and ecological sustainability demands.
/the relationships between the spaces and (i) the people who inhabit them (ii) the (sustainable) materials that shape them and (iii) related technologies;
/ users’s role while designing products and spaces that combine digital transformation benefits and sustainable development challenges, through a human centred approach;
/the significance of images for the design project as cognitive and perceptive experience of places and artefacts.

Finally, OIKOS intends to strengthen the national and international network based upon the triangle Design/Product Engineering/Ecotechnology both through the already established channels (ID+ groups, protocols, conferences, peer-reviewed journals, call for projects, organizations, events, workshops and other platforms at disposal) and by enlarging it through theory and practice based research.