Duration: 6 weeks, 1 unit/week (2h lecture + 2h seminar per unit / 24 hours total)

Module Introduction

Design is faced with unprecedented challenges. The implications of our design decisions involve a much broader scale than that of products, and what we design addresses today a vast array of topics ranging from companies’ strategies, to business models.

Today, most of the materials we lose, and often after just one short use.

More than 80% of all materials in our products and services are destined for landfill or incinerators, with a significant amount also leaking out of the system and into natural environments. They are part of a take-make-waste model. We take finite resources, use them only for a short period of time, after which they are lost from the economy. This is an enormous loss. We miss out on the opportunity to keep products and materials in circulation, and with it all the creativity, labour, and energy that went into them.

Circular design offers a direction of travel towards a regenerative and resilient future. A future where we design products, services, and systems with the bigger picture in mind. A future where we zoom in on user needs while zooming out to consider the system in which we are creating. A future where we unlock a new frontier of creativity to address global challenges at their root.

Importantly, up to 80% of a products’ environmental impact is determined at the design phase.

You might still play a critical role in the design stage and determine the attributes and characteristics of future products, services and systems.

Module Focus

The module introduces students to Circular Economy in the design professions in the broadest sense. Design for Circular Economy makes inspiration from the “seven key elements” of circular economy (Design for the future, Incorporate Thecnology, Sustain and Preserve, Rethink the Business Modell, Use waste as a resource, Prioritise regenerative resources, Team Up) and aims to understand the principles, strategies and analytic techniques of circular design applied to products and systems addressing the needs of the individuals and the communities.

The Structure

The meetings will last 4 hours (2 hours of lesson + 2 hours of seminar) divided in 6 units as below.

The working groups generally consist of 4 students.
CE01 - Understanding Circular Flows ( 1 Unit - 4 Hours Lecture + Seminar)

3 November 2022

It presents the challenges of the circular economy seen as the transition to a new world where products will no longer have a life cycle with a beginning, a middle and an end. By understanding the flows of materials and resources, we will be able to contribute by designing with less waste and adding value to their ecosystems.
CE02 - Regenerative Thinking (1 Units - 4 Hours Lecture + Seminar)

10 November 2022

Today, as never before, it is necessary to be aware of the systems perspective during the design process; use the right materials, design for adequate durability and extended future use. While the assets are in use, maintain, repair, and upgrade them to maximize their lifespan and give them a second life through retirement strategies, if applicable.
CE03 - Service Flip - Transform a Product in a Service (1 Unit - 4 Hours Lecture + Seminar)

17 November 2022

How are companies moving from selling products to transforming them into service but still generate value? Increasingly, companies are shifting from selling a product to turning that product into a service. Why? Because it can be a powerful way for an organization to become more effective and circular. Change begins with understanding user needs and thinking more creatively about how they can be met.
CE04 - Natural Design Inspiration and Technology Integration (1 Unit - 4 Hours Lecture + Seminar)

24 November 2022

The goal is to take inspiration and learn how biological systems can inspire new solutions for products or services. Biomimicry is the design of products and systems inspired by and modeled on existing biological processes , which are inherently circular and holistic.
Looking outside your industry is a great way to inspire the development of your ideas, and looking to nature is one way to do it, and how smart technologies and solutions can help us achieve this.
CE05 - Define your Challenge and Branding the Idea (1 Unit - 4 Hours Lecture + Seminar)

1 December 2022

Circular design is inherently systemic, so it is especially important to have a clear definition of what you are trying to solve and how you intend to do it. This will require a clear vision of your goal, an interdisciplinary approach and a knowledge of the means at your disposal.
You will also need to communicate the circular innovation content within your product or service, reinforcing your brand purpose to hone your message to your customers.
CE06 - Rethink Business Model and Team up (1 Unit - 4 Hours Lecture + Seminar)

15 December 2022

We will develop or redefine your business modelfrom a circular design perspective.
How to create greater value and align incentives through business models based on the interaction between products and services?
And how to work involving the entire supply chain, internally within organizations and with the public sector to increase transparency and create shared value?

Module Outcome

After weeks of full integration, project teams will produce comprehensive documentation that demonstrates an advanced application of use-inspired practice-based research, and holistic systems approach.

Module Leader

Stefano Giovacchini - Designer and a Circular Economy Expert

In 2001 he graduated with honor at Accademia of Belle Arti di Firenze in Design with a thesis in design entitled "Color-design", then he participated in the European project "Leonardo" with a post-graduate internship in communication at the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique in Brussels and then attended a course at the Indigo department of the Politecnico di Milano dedicated to color design for the city.

In 2003 he opened the studio Disegno Colore ed Interni, focused to interiors and colour design whit natural finishing.

In 2017 he set up a company dedicated to produce large 3d printed objects made with recycled plastic from urban waste. He has from 2018 a partnership to research and development with Revet, the biggest Tuscan multi-utility.

In 2022 he designed and realized public furniture for Municipality of Lucca, using for the first time ever a polymer made from recycled tetra pak inside 3D printer.

Since 2018 he has been an external lecturer for SOS - School of Sustaninability.

He has a focus on sustainable design, additive manufacturing and creative design processes. His objects are exposed in several international design exhibitions.

SlideENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN Foundations of Sustainability THE RIGHT TO QUALITY SHELTER Project Track POST CARBON ARCHITECTURE Project Track