08/05/2015 - Design, when everybody designs: Lecture by Ezio Manzini


Design, When Everybody Designs, by Ezio Manzini
8 May 2015

Beursschouwburg, Silver Room, Auguste Ortsstraat, 1000 Brussels

Part of project: 

Ezio Manzini is an Italian design strategist, one of the world’s leading experts on design for sustainability. He is Honorary Professor at the Politecnico di Milano, and founder of the DESIS (Design for Social Innovation towards Sustainability), an international network of university-based design labs. Over the past 30 years his work has coalesced around four watchwords: small, local, open and connected.


16.30h.: Lecture by Ezio Manzini on design for social innovation

In a changing world everyone designs: each individual person and each collective subject, from enterprises to institutions, from communities to cities and regions. Sometimes these projects generate unprecedented solutions; sometimes they converge on common goals and realize larger transformations. As Ezio Manzini describes in his book Design, When Everybody Designs, we are witnessing a wave of social innovations as these changes unfold.
Manzini distinguishes between diffuse design (performed by everybody) and expert design (performed by those who have been trained as designers) and describes how they interact. He maps what design experts can do to trigger and support meaningful social changes, focusing on emerging forms of collaboration. These range from community-supported agriculture in China to digital platforms for medical care in Canada; from interactive storytelling in India to collaborative housing in Milan. In his talk Manzini will draw a comprehensive picture of design for social innovation: the most dynamic field of action for both expert and nonexpert designers in the coming decades.

17.15h.: Round-table discussion, moderated by Bie Luyssaert (Design Vlaanderen), with Virginia Tassinari (LUCA arts - MAD campus C-Mine), Lou Yongqi (Dean College of Design & Innovation, Tongji University) & Tanguy Coenen (iMinds iLab.o / SMIT)

18.00h.: Opening of Kunstenfestivaldesarts



Met de steun van / with the support of VUB-R&D:


This lecture coincides with STADSSALONSURBAINS #9

Design, When Everybody Designs. An Introduction to Design for Social Innovation. MIT Press, ISBN: 9780262028608, 264 pp.



Bios / Slides

Bie Luyssaert started working for Design Flanders in 1999 after studying Art Sciences at the UGent. Design Flanders promotes Flemish design in all its aspects. Her main interest is the story behind the design product or design process and how to bring this story to an audience. The yearly highlight of interesting design stories is the Henry van de Velde Awards & Labels, the Flemish design awards.

Ezio Manzini, a leading thinker in design for sustainability, founded DESIS, an international network on design for social innovation and sustainability ( He is Honorary Professor at the Politecnico di Milano, Chair Professor at University of the Arts London, and currently guest Professor at Tongji University, Shanghai, and Jiangnan University, Wuxi.

Tanguy Coenen is a senior researcher at iMinds iLab.o and SMIT Vrije Universiteit Brussel. His current work focuses on design science research in a variety of IT-related topics, like pervasive games, wearables, learning and development, smart cities and living lab communities. Most of his design research takes place in the context of living lab projects.

After her studies in philosophy Virginia Tassinari extended her research activities by blending the world of philosophy and humanities in general with the context of design and media. With her roots in the philosophical traditions of the Frankfurter Schule, she applies a critical assessment of contemporary society by translating the categories of critical theory to the worlds of design and media. She approaches contemporary society through design projects on the crossroads between philosophy, semiotics and design and media practice. Virginia Tassinari is currently engaged in both teaching, research and project-based activities at the Mad Faculty in Belgium. Among the activities she is currently involved in, several are focussed on issues of social innovation and social sustainability (cf. collaborations with DESIS, Institute without boundaries, Recentre …). Virginia Tassinari carries out her PhD research in collaboration with the University of Antwerp and is a member of the executive board of Cumulus, the International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design & Media. She is currently busy with founding a Desis Lab in the Mad Faculty.

Lou Yongqi is the Dean and full Professor of the College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University in Shanghai. He is also Vice President of CUMULUS, the International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media, and visiting Professor at the School of Art, Design and Architecture of Aalto University in Finland. His main research focuses on social design and sustainable design. He plays an active role in promoting interdisciplinary sustainable design education, research and practice internationally. Lou Yongqi currently serves on the boards of Alta Scuola Politecnica, Danish Design School Kolding, DESIS, and Design Issues (a MIT Press journal), among others. His latest book is Design Harvests: An acupunctural design approach toward sustainability, published by MistraUrbanFutures in Sweden. His works have been exhibited in the Design Museum of Helsinki, the Triennale Design Museum in Milano, and other prestigious institutions.