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Academic year
Didactic period
Secondo Semestre

Training objectives

The workshop will address the approach to the topic of Basic Design as a preparatory study, preparatory to the complexity of the design of forms, through the observation of nature, of physical phenomena and laws, of the effects of time, of the human body and of the many kinds of interaction between man and objects.
Various issues will be approached, through training exercises, prompting research and interest in different themes, from principles and logical deductions, to the mechanical, experiential and dimensional characteristics of the objects surrounding us. Through the conceptualization of shapes and geometrical abstractions, also as ex tempore exercises, the course will focus on the transition from two-dimensional to three-dimensional, to mechanical thinking.
The tools will be those of design and construction in the form of small individual actual artifacts, that the student will illustrate and of which he/she will be called to represent the use.
The course aims at providing useful tools in the processing path and representation of the project and at stimulating the students' verification capabilities of a thought and their critical thinking. Research and functional verification (dimensional and figurative) will be developed also through the construction of study models, intended as a designing tool and not as a mean to represent or imitate an object. In this course models will be a part of the design process, as an investigative and storytelling tool. The course also briefly address structures and properties of materials, stresses and dimensions of an object to provide the basics to engage critically with the material work.
The lessons will be introduced by a speech, and continue in the form of a workshop, encouraging individual communication and collective participation. Students actively participate in the development of the laboratory, as a moment for studying and sharing of the various topics.
The course will use various instruments, coming also from other fields, such as photography or video recording, media support in building functioning objects, in the understanding of content and strategies, to be encountered in connection with the physical and social world.
The laboratory consists of a main discipline, Product Design, and a Materials and Production Module, both of which will operate in parallel on the study of materials, the construction of the artifacts and the final representation.


Having knowledge of the essential tools of the drawing and practical of the orthogonal projections.

Course programme

Product Design Module:
- communication tools
- Visual perception and rules of Gestalt
- Colour theory
- Pattern design
- Forms and structures
- Quality, and customer needs
- Evolution of the standard
- Packaging design
- Drawing for industrial production

Material & Production Module
-The methods and tools to research and assess materials
-The use of materials in product design
-Materials for product design: wood, ceramics, glass, polymers and metals
-The sustainability of materials
-Folding performances and materials
-Compatibility between packaging and content

Didactic methods

The teaching plan is structured in lessons, midway exercises and a final examination. The lessons aim to introduce the students to the main issues they will deal with during planning. Creativity and logical abilities will be developed and evaluated through the exercises. The final examination will be focused on the development of those skills which are needed when dealing with complex problems in a systematic relation.

Within the Module of Material & Production, in addition to lectures, seminars and guided tours (in material factories or design exhibitions), will develop the selection and cataloguing of any material chosen by students for their final project design, held in collaboration with Product Design.

Learning assessment procedures

The assessment will be based on the exercises done during the course, then the final vote will also be made up of mid-term evaluations.
The exercises will be mandatory and will be developed with the timing of the course; they may be reworked and corrected by the students befor the final presentation.
In this context presence in class and thorough execution of work are fundamental in obtaining a good final evaluation. By agreement with the teacher, however the possibility of recovery failed or skipped exercises will be granted. The work will be approached and will take place in the classroom, to be then completed at home individually.
The assessment of the exercises will be developed accordingly to the terms and delivery time, as well as constant and active participation will become effective components of the final judgment, which will be an overall evaluation of what took place during the workshop.
Intermediate exercises will test students’ ability to develop critical and in-depth thinking processes, with the use of various instruments.
The final exam will take place with the presentation and representation of the final project, which will determine the final grade together with what will have been carried out during the course.
There are no special preliminary requirements. Studies and tests relating to the intermediate exercises aim to develop the tools and critical attitude required to perform the themes.

Reference texts

The books listed below are intended as preparatory; The bibliography will be integrated during the course, both by teachers and students alike, while insights that will be carried out, but will also be a good idea to extend the research in other areas.

B. Munari, Da cosa nasce cosa, Laterza, Bari, 1981
Rudolf Arnheim, Arte e percezione visiva, Feltrinelli, 1984
G. Dorfles, Introduzione al disegno industriale, Einaudi, Torino, 1972

Other recommended books:

B. Munari, Fantasia, Laterza, Bari, 1977
B. Munari, i laboratori tattili, Corraini, Mantova,
J. Itten, Arte del colore, il Saggiatore, Milano, 2010
G. Di Napoli, I principi della forma. Natura, percezione e arte, Einaudi, 2011
W. Gropius (a cura di), Arthur S. Wensinger, The Theater of the Bauhaus, Wesleyan university press, Connecticut,1971
W.Kandinsky, Punto Linea Superficie, Adelphi, Milano, 1968
A. Vettese, Si fa con tutto, Laterza, Bari, 2012
M. Meneguzzo, E. Morteo, A. Saibene, Programmare l’arte, Johan&Levi, Milano 2012
Thompson R., Il manuale per il design dei prodotti industriali, Zanichelli, 2012
T.Maldonado, Disegno industriale: un riesame, Feltrinelli, Milano, 1976
AA.VV, Materiali per il design, Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, Milano, 2008
B. Munari, Codice ovvio, Einaudi, Torino , 1971
B. Munari, Design e comunicazione visiva, Laterza, 1968
V. Flusser, Filosofia del design, Mondadori, Milano, 2003

Material & Production Module:
Thompson R., Manufacturing Processes for Design Professionals, Thames & Hudson, 2007.

Ashby Mike; Johnson K., Materials and Design: The Art and Science of Material Selection in Product Design, Butterworth Heinemann, 2014.
Bolton, W.; Higgins, Raymond A., Materials for Engineers and Technicians, Routledge, 2015

The Department of Architecture has a subscription to the website MaterialConnextion; all students have free access to it through the wife connection of the Department.

Other text:
Ashby M.F., Shercliff H., Cebon D., Materials: Engineering, Science, Processing and Design, Butterworth Heinemann, 2013.
Del Curto B., Marano C., Materiali per il design. Introduzione ai materiali e alle loro proprietà, Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, 2008.
Albers J., Interaction of Color, Yale Univ Press, 2006.

More documentation will be provided within each lesson (sent by teacher to each students by e-mail), including a short list of suggested books and videos (available at the Department library or freely downloadable online).