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Banque Populaire Grand Ouest - LIPPI Connected Environments Chair

A research by design chair to explore the possibilities of Connected Environments

The research by design Connected Environments Chair, supported by Banque Populaire Grand Ouest and the LIPPI company between 2014 and 2018, aspired to put design at the heart of the new services to be implemented in the context of societal and technological changes to the city. It is part of the current research and questions surrounding the “Smart City”.

Led by Florent Orsoni, the Chair combined the experiences of two laboratories: Digital Design Lab and City Design Lab (formely Sustainable Cities Design Lab).


Research context

The term “connected environments” relates directly to sustainable city commitments and to the new challenges brought about by the development of internet technologies, particularly the question of data.

New potential for services, spaces and organizations is emerging in all manner of areas such as mobility, banking services, retail, security, etc.

What are the practical applications for citizens with a view to the common good?

From sensors to data processing, from data to services or to spatial organization, the chair seeks to test methods and tools, rethink user services and identify issues that will inform research and knowledge generation regarding our changing cities.

Service design research is structured around:

  • representation to better understand information flows and the interactions between such flows (Open Data, Big Data, dataviz);
  • citizen involvement in the joint construction of sustainable cities;
  • designing services based on a better understanding of infrastructures such as public transport, green spaces or administrative and banking services (data-driven services);
  • and more generally, resource saving (water, energy), to improve the management of the urban system inputs/outputs: pollution, waste treatment, etc.

The research takes place in interdisciplinary workshops which bring together students, companies, local authorities and institutions; in particular with the active support of SAMOA (Société d’Aménagement de la Métropole Ouest Atlantique), the company responsible for the Ile de Nantes urban development project, who provide testing grounds and encourage dynamic exchange between the various stakeholders, from experts and entrepreneurs to the users and inhabitants of a rapidly changing neighborhood.

An iterative experimental approach

Methods and tools

Monitoring activities are carried out as part of a “decoding” event involving experts, researchers, designers and company representatives who bring to the table their analysis, questions and involvement in all these subjects. All these contributions form the basis for a dedicated blog « Environnements connectés » (in French).

The methodological expertise associated with each of the Labs is tested and enhanced by experimenting on issues regarding data (recording, representation, determination of values), adapting existing services by contributing contextual data and designing new object-services. These experiments are subjected to various urban contexts and use contexts (re-definition, adaptation, space and service design). A blend of methods from design and anthropology disciplines also uses participatory tools involving users/inhabitants.

Highlights and actions

The experimentation Chair’s action programme is based on three highlights: questioning, prototyping/demonstrating and disseminating.
With a view to sharing and disseminating knowledge, each item that is worked on in the workshops will be presented to the general public. A dedicated Connected Environments blog in French documented highlights, actions, events and other activities of the Chair.

Two publications has been published as part of the disseminsation process of the chair:

  • LE BŒUF, J., ORSONI, F. (dir), (2018). Du Design et des environnements connectés, Matières de recherche, Nantes : LÉcole de design Nantes Atlantique, 117 p., available online.
  • ZARA, H. (dir), (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.

Scientific council, team and partners


  • Florent Orsoni, Chair director
  • Grégoire Cliquet, Scientific director

Scientific Council

External members:

  • Marie-Hélène Ferrer, PhD Psychology - Département Neurosciences et Contraintes opérationnelles - Institut de Recherche Biomédicale des Armées (IRBA)
  • Hélène Dang Vu, Lecturer in urbanism - Institut de Géographie et d’Aménagement Régional of the University of Nantes, Researcher at ESO (Espaces and Societies), unité mixte de recherche du CNRS
  • Tewfik Hammoudi, Lecturer at Ecoles Nationales Supérieures d’Architecture (ENSA Nantes), Founder of MorphoLab and of the architectural and urban project’s theory and practise teaching program « le même et l’autre »
  • Jean-Louis Kerouanton, Science and Technology Historian, Vice President of the University of Nantes, François Viète Centre
  • Fabien Pfaender, Lecturer and Researcher in Science data applied to the City, UTSEUS/ComplexCity Lab, Shanghai, Associate Professor, Data exploration &Visualisation Researcher, ComplexCity Lab Program, Smart City Sino-French Institute, UTSEUS (Chinese-European Technology University), Shanghai.
  • Pierrick Thébault, Researcher and Designer specialized in IoT and data vizualisation, in charge of insight and new products at Qwant - PhD
  • Monzen Tzen, Sino-European University in Shanghai (UTSEUS), Director of the ComplexCity Lab, Smart City Franco-China Institute
    Internal members:
  • Zélia Darnault, Editorial officer
  • Jocelyne Le Boeuf, Research and Promotion Director - Design Labs
  • Cédric Mivielle, PhD Telecom Paris - Thesis subject: Attention, Creation, Thinking: the playful experience of ubiquitous computing - Associate Researcher at the Banque Populaire Atlantique - LIPPI Connected Environments chair
  • Florent Orsoni, Sustainable Cities Design Lab Director and the Banque Populaire Atlantique - LIPPI Connected Environments chair Director

Management and administrative team:

  • Delphine Carton, assistant
  • Grégoire Cliquet, READi Design Lab Director
  • Zélia Darnault, editorial content
  • Jocelyne Le Bœuf, research
  • Quentin Le Roux, interaction designer
  • Florent Orsoni, Sustainable Cities Design Lab Director
  • Hilda Zara, environnmental psychologist and research

According to the needs, the Chair calls on multidisciplinary teams: design professions (product, space, interactivity, graphics), human sciences and technical and managerial skills.

Sponsoring partners

Banque Populaire Grand Ouest and LIPPI support the Connected Environments research through design Chair as part of their sponsorship policy. These two structures have understood the benefits of working with L’École de design Nantes Atlantique and thereby support research in a domain, the intelligent relationship between objects and environments that will change uses in the coming years and reveal new economic fields.


Technical partners

  • ComplexCity Lab, UTSEUS, Shanghai
  • XLII Factory
  • SAMOA Société d’aménagement de la métropole Ouest Atlantique
  • Mat’lo
  • Aire38/Les badauds associés, Nantes
Sebastian Grauwin data scientist during Datarama #1