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Digital Design Lab, research by design

The Research / Training / Innovation platform for UX Design and digital innovation at L’École de design Nantes Atlantique

“User experiences in the digital age concern a hybrid of tangible, immersive, ecological and artificial systems. ”

- Dr Frédérique Krupa, Digital Design Lab’s director

What is the Digital Design Lab?

Principles of the Digital Design Lab of L’École de design Nantes Atlantique include:

  • A UX design and digital innovation platform mixing research, pedagogy and industrial partnerships.
  • Pragmatic, experimental design research for interactive and hybrid user experiences in complex systems.
  • Stakeholder-centric design processes that focus on tangible and immersive human experiences with complex artificial and/or living intelligent systems.


Topics and Research Themes

Digital’s research themes span two different axes: experience and intelligence.

User experience (UX) research at the lab manifests itself in a range of potential experiences from tangible, physical experiences with connected objects, systems or environments - to immersive experiences in virtual, mixed or augmented reality. The full spectrum of possibilities and inspiration from natural intelligence (living systems and biomimicry) to artificial intelligence (machine learning) combine to enhance user experiences.

What is different about the Digital Design Lab?

The context

What sets the lab apart from other digital innovation labs is the transdisciplinary student teams within our lab. Our students come from different design-profession bachelor’s programs like our interaction design, motion, graphics, game, products, transportation or scenography departments. This innovative mixture of design talents, skills, methods and approaches reinforce the pragmatic team-based industry research and development projects that have allowed our graduates to integrate the full spectrum of French and international tech and design companies, start-ups and institutions.

The lab researches and develops UX design methods, including Machine Learning UX (MLUX) and the introduction of AI in user experience research through industry-sponsored PhD dissertations (Sigma & Thales), and publishes a French language compendium of its methods in a pragmatic creative commons publication.

"Plum", a BiomimiCry project / Pierre Fontaine, Mathis Freudenberger, Vincent Lassegue

Methods and approaches : learning by doing

Practice-based design methodologies allow our MDes students to tackle complex problems through pragmatic UX research, interdisciplinary teams team and project management. The Digital Design Lab prones a practice-based action-research approach to technology, which means bringing contextualized electronic and programming logic to the designer’s arsenal of knowledge and skills. This includes electronic hardware prototyping for IoT and connected objects and environments, as well as programming for immersive environments (Unity) and Machine Learning UX design (Python).

To know more about the Digital Design MDes

Conferences and publications at the Digital Design Lab

The Digital Design Lab’s alumni, competitions, exhibitions, partners and networks



Ophélie Le Bras (alumni 2015) started this B2B while honing her experience at AXA Research and Qwant; she is now CEO and product design lead of the startup, a complete solution provider for French wine merchants and fine grocery stores.



The duo Nicolas Cloarec (alumni 2010) and Heidi Ghernati (alumni 2009) created this dataviz dashboard solution alongside the launch of their interaction design consultancy Bakasable.


Speak UX!

Amina Essilimani (alumni 2010) launched this UX design consultancy dedicated to the design of chatbots, text and vocal interfaces in 2018 for clients like the SNCF. Her MLUX approach has been incorporated into the Digital Design Lab’s curriculum.


The Design Crew

Jérémy Barré and Félix Lepoutre (alumni 2014), co-founded The Design Crew, the first training program dedicated to product design in France, to capitalize on their previous collective experiences in France and the Silicon Valley at Lydia, YouTube, Facebook, Drivy, etc.


Visionaries 777

Nicolas Guyon and Frantz Lasorne(alumni 2009) started their AR/VR studio in Hong Kong in 2010 and have gained a huge industry recognition since then, working with a number of major companies worldwide like Lego, BMW, Infiniti, Stratasys…



Competitions & Exhibitions

Entomologik (2019) & Biomimi-Cry (2020-21):

These experimental biomimicry and inclusive design projects allow the students to develop complex and innovative solutions to pervasive “wicked” problems of digital and musical accessibility, ecological responsibility, and more. The success of these projects manifests in their repeat invitations to the Nantes Digital Week, Utopiales, Nuit Blanche des chercheurs, Laval Virtual, IVRC, etc.

International networks and partnerships

Aalto University, Arts et Métiers ParisTech, Audencia, Ecole Centrale de Nantes, IAE de Nantes, JAIST, Loughborough University, LS2N / Université de Nantes, OCAD, Orange Silicon Valley, Polytech Nantes, Rice University, Université de Washington, Stanford, University Of Cambridge



  • Guillaume Allemon Designer - Devialet
  • Marie Blaise UI/UX Designer - Renault
  • Lola Charpentier Product Designer - ANTAI Agence nationale de traitement automatisé des infractions
  • Corentin Fatus UX Designer - Google
  • Charlotte Jacob Designer - AGC Glass Europe
  • Gaël Jaffrezic Product Designer - Facebook
  • Marion Laillé UX Designer - Amplitude Studios
  • Mélie Ling Innovation Lab Manager - RATP Group
  • Marcelo Scharlau Coelho Senior Product Designer - Expedia Group
  • Charlotte Sferruzza Product Design Lead - Onfido
  • Marc Teyssier, PhD Principal Investigator - Pôle Leonard de Vinci

Lecturers and researchers


Arnaud Le Roi
Designer, Responsable pédagogique du Digital Design Lab


Martin Caillaud / Marc Débies / Jean François Dubos / Tristan Duquesne / Amina Essilimani / Dr Remy Eynard / Dr Marie Hélène Ferrer / Heidi Ghernati / Mathieu Gioani / Dr Delphine Giuliani / Stéphane Gallard (Loop Dee Science) / Olivier Heinry / Bruno Houssin / Dr Liv Lefebvre / Thierry Lehmann / Dr Frédérique Letourneux / Martial Medjber / Dr Pauline Merlet / Laurent Neyssensas

A selection of Digital Design Lab Partners





Please contact the Business Strategy team for partnerships and collaborative projects:

Loïc MILIN, Projects and apprenticeship tax manager
Florence BERNAT, Business relations coordinator

You can also submit job offers and internships via our JobTeaser platform.

Please check the possibilities for internships on the dedicated page.