The Labs reflect our Industrial Design professional knowledge and practice experience, alongside our teaching practice at undergraduate and postgraduate level, through to doctorate level research and commercial industry design practice. Our successful network of industry collaborators, partners and stakeholders, provide us with new proposals that evaluate academic knowledge within realistic funded research programmes. These initiatives position our research profile within a global framework of critical Industrial Design Research practice, where embryonic ideas and innovations can inspire valuable future prototypes into sustainable ecologies and environments.

Our research activities are organized into three principal Research Labs, to align with leading international research:  X+ Experience and Interaction Design, S+ Social Innovation and M+ Future Making and Manufacture. With a primary focus on human values, this innovative research practice develop how future communities and environments can be formed, within Chinese and International cultural contexts.

The X+ Experience & Interaction Lab considers the extent to which artificial digital realities can serve to represent and improve human experience in the natural world.

The S+ Social Innovation Lab builds community-based research experiences and social design workshops, where local industry can be involved within the design practice.

The M+ Future Making & Manufacture Lab reaches from Craft hand skills making through to Digital Prototyping, where research ideas generated in collaboration with the X+ and S+ Labs, can be taken through to industry manufactured production. These three labs deliberately intend to challenge contemporary design paradigms, where social values collide with changes in technology, cultures and community, where innovations and ideas can be tested through realistic prototypes.

X+ Experience & Interaction Lab

Over time, all societies develop, evolve and transform within a perpetual flow of information exchange and, as the world keeps on shifting, so do our needs and wants. Looking into interactions is to build understanding about our human experience through natural and artificial world. Understand how we communicate through perception, cognition, behavior and performance, and how to design, innovate, and to challenge existing behavior to improve new situations in everyday life

The X+ research lab specializes in the different modes of interaction between people and the environment, through physical materials and digital applications and services. At its core, the lab aims to evaluate, question, and improve our daily experiences and transactions with the artificial world through the design and improvement of artefacts, tools, spaces, systems, or experiences, according to and within the cultural context they exist in.

Research lab Leaders: Nuno Bernardo, Dr. Mengjie Huang

Research lab members: Aven Le Zhou, Prof. Richard Appleby, Dr. Mariia Zolotova, Jia Liu

S+ Social Innovation Lab

Design in terms of stylistic function has long passed. We are presented with real-world challenges which such complexity that simple design approaches do not provide workable solutions for the communities we live in. To entangle these interconnected contexts, a multi-disciplinary approach is needed to build inclusive and sustainable living environments for our future communities. Social Innovation Lab adopts a holistic approach, acknowledging that collaborations are essential to create impact, within national and international contexts.

Social Innovation Lab is user-centered and strongly led by practice-based research: – through sustainable material research, we change our use of and access to resources, – through cultural analysis and a deeper understanding of the past, we can co-create the future, – through socially engaged practices, we can educate change.

Research lab Leaders: Emanuela Corti, Dr. Luis Felipe Moreno Leyva

Research lab members: Vicente Esteban, Paul Denison

M+ Future Making & Manufacture Lab:

Future Making and Manufacturing is an open platform for many new digital manufacturing processes, from single prototypes through to high volume production, considering how research practice in new material forms and constructions can lead innovation for many manufacturing industries. This Lab is also within a collection of the crafts communities operating within the Jiangsu Province, with a wide variety of materials including bamboo, copper, earth, jade, silk, silver, stone, and wood. These craft materials processes offer unprecedented opportunities for design research as an expression of regionalism and digital innovation. Similar experiences that integrate traditional craft in contemporary design are happening in many other Chinese cities, promoting formats of traditional materials and handicraft techniques, workshops, and exhibitions.

Research lab Leaders: Massimo Imparato, Ivan Parati

Research lab members: Hongchao Wang

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