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Design and connected environments – research topics

Design and connected environments – research topics

The Banque Populaire Grand Ouest - LIPPI Connected Environments chair closing

In 2014, L’École de design Nantes Atlantique set up the Connected Environments chair backed by La Banque Populaire which became Banque Populaire Grand Ouest in 2017, and French company LIPPI. At the end of three years of experiments, research and deciphering information in partnership with a variety of experts, the publication of the study, “Design and connected environments – Research topics”, bears witness to the role of design in a highly technological context. This publication will be presented at a closing event on February 6. The theme of the event « Confiance ou Défiance numérique : approches, enjeux, débats, controverses autour des expérimentations urbaines », illustrates just how important this field of research is for design.

"Research topics"

What are the implications of design-led research, at a time when Internet and data technologies are in full boom, on the conception of new services and spaces for environmentally responsible urban development that respects the well-being of users/inhabitants? The notion of “Research topics” should be understood as the expression of the many questions raised by the experiments carried out over the past three years by the Sustainable Cities and READi Design Labs, which involved Master’s students as well as multi-disciplinary teams of designers, architects, engineers, teaching staff and humanities researchers.


A proper usage of technologies

The responsibility of design for the “proper use” of technologies focused the research on designing systems for gathering or recording information. These limit the intrusion into private data and are tailored to research questions which can reveal a potential for services and artefacts, whose economic stakes should go hand in hand with the notion of shared assets. The testing of participatory approaches with various tools and methods is part of this commitment: conception d’objets intermédiaires to encourage collective creativity and mediation between the various actors; Experiments inspired by méthodes d’Urban Living Lab.

Project-research methodology based research

The strength of design lies in working on processes and tools to generate and test hypotheses and to promote creativity. It also lies in its role of mediation between the various stakeholders. In the context of our research field, these include users, various local experts, private and public stakeholders, municipal service workers and political actors . The research based on a research-project methodology made it possible to take stock of the interdisciplinary grounding of the research questions, and to lay the foundation for future research. It became apparent for example that the mobilization of design on a micro-scale level where each situation is unique, with iterations between experimentation and analysis, was a fruitful line of research to pursue.

Jocelyne Le Bœuf

Director of Research


The SAMOA, Nantes Métropole, Sino-European School of Technology of Shanghai University (UTSEUS), Nantes University and many expert guests have provided a valuable help to the work which allowed the realization of those "research topics".

The chair’s editorial activities

- Collective, (dir. Le Bœuf, J., Orsoni, F., 2017), Environnements connectés, Matières de recherche, L’École de design Nantes Atlantique, imp. Couleur Fab, 116 p.
- Collective, (dir. Zara, H., 2016), L’approche Urban Living Lab, design et opportunités d’une méthodologie expérimentale d’innovation urbaine, L’École de design Nantes Atlantique, imp. Couleur Fab, 102 p.,

available online: Living-Lab

Editorial direction:
Le Boeuf, J., Cliquet, G. and Kerouanton, J-L. (2016) (dir.), "Urbanités numériques", Sciences du design 03, PUF.

International conferences:
- Cliquet, G., (2016), "Designing the Internet of Things for People", HLD International Symposium, Kanazawa Bunka Hall and JAIST (Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology), Japan, 26-29 March 2016.
- Cliquet, G., Mivielle, C., (2015), "Transpoz, Représentations intermédiaires pour faciliter l’augmentation de produits existants", Ateliers de la recherche en design (ARD), Montreal, Canada.

- Orsoni, F., (2016), "La ville intelligente, de l’utopie aux réalités", Droit et Ville, revue de l’Institut des Etudes juridiques de l’Urbanisme, de la Construction et de l’Environnement, N°80.
- Orsoni, F., (2015), "Le numérique pour une ville intelligente ?" Techni.Cités 280, February 2015.