Design Research

Design Investigations through New Open-sourced Materials and Applications

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We provide project-based research focused on open-sourced materiality. The applications that emerge from this research are new scenarios for alternative futures. The different publications we made provide theoretical support and guidance for the projects. If you want to set up a project in which the new frontiers of design and materiality are the medium to develop, we have specific methods and tools to guide you on this track. Contact us here providing information about the project so we can get in touch with a proposal.

On this site, you will find a variety of research projects which have been developed in different parts of the world. The Research through Design philosophy is a fundamental root in what we do at Dinoma. Throughout the research, we propose alternatives to tackle the different wicked problems our society poses continuously. We believe that through the proposition of new knowledge, it is possible to build possible alternative better futures.

Design Research at Dinoma is a combination of our passion for materiality, our constant focus on the possible paths to a circular society, and the different tools that design can create to provide agency to communities and specific contexts.

Projects on Design Research

Explore the different projects as well as the different publications in journals and conferences. Herein you find all projects and publications linked to the original source. Enjoy!

The Materials Generation

The DIY movement is expanding beyond products to include the materials from which the products are made; namely, DIY-Materials. Designers around the globe are engaging in different experimental journeys encircling the materials development field before developing their projects. Self-made material sources are providing designers with a unique tool to develop new languages and new products with original and fresh materials experiences. As more designers take this path, a proper study around the phenomenon needs to be carried out.

This doctoral study was conducted to understand the DIY-Materials phenomenon as one of the emerging materials experiences in the field of design. The herein presented research shows the formulation of research questions and hypotheses, the qualitative methods and strategies to conduct the different tests, and how the different elements are attempting to clearly define this phenomenon together. It is an invitation to read the doctoral dissertation. Within, it is possible to view and understand the opportunities DIY-Materials offer when considered as a possible practice in the design domain.

Ph.D. Research by Camilo Ayala-Garcia.

Supervisor: Dr.Valentina Rognoli, Politecnico di Milano.
Co-Supervisor: Dr. Elvin Karana, TU Delft.

Studies on VIS (Social Housing) for a Countryside Environment, Through Integrated Processes of Digital Fabrication.

Researchers: Camilo Ayala-Garcia, Christiaan Job Nieman, Diego Velandia Rayo.

Architecture Department/Design Department, Universidad de los Andes. University Funded Project.

Utility Patents # NC2017/0006075 - NC2017/0007359

The research project at its origin had several interests: impacting on national issues; working with vulnerable communities and trying to improve their quality of life; create a space dedicated to digital manufacturing – today FabLab – and explore digital manufacturing and parametric modeling. At this crossroads of motivations, rural housing emerged as an appropriate scenario since it allowed the development of digital manufacturing processes and parametric design, employ a management model based on directed self-construction, and explore with materials. That’s how we set out to develop a prototype of rural housing.
Rural housing and more in Colombia pose very different design challenges than urban housing. This determinant was key to the development of research and the conceptualization of design principles that should be taken into account when designing the prototype. In this way, it was planned to create an integrated digital design, production, and manufacturing process that would link tangible and intangible aspects of the user, concepts such as flexibility, and directed self-construction processes.

Tambali Fii

The place-based approach to innovation is a strategy that provides communities the opportunity to innovate by triggering a systemic change. While researchers and policymakers are experimenting with place-based strategies around the world, there is a need to develop appropriate educational tools to foster a place-based approach to technological and social entrepreneurial solutions. The Tambali Fii project is a step in this direction. This research took place at the IPP Dakar sketching objectives, theoretical model, structure, tools, and results. This methodology aims to present a model to transfer and/or to scale up in larger experimental and applied for social tech education program. A validation test through qualitative content analysis of data collected in the field is carried out to investigate the actual potential of teaching concerning new design tools in the bottom-up process of creation of place-based social tech entrepreneurial businesses.

Researchers: Andrea Ratti, Valentina Rognoli, Camilo Ayala-Garcia, Francesco Gerli, Arianna Bionda, Davide Telleschi, Irene Bengo.

Design Department/Management Engineering Department, Politecnico di Milano. Research funded by Polisocial (The social responsibility programme), Politecnico di Milano.

Partners: Comune di Milano/ Ministère des affaires etrangères et des senegalais de l’exterieur / Association italo-sénégalaise sociale culturelle et de Co-développement.

ICS Materials

Researchers: Stefano Parisi, Valentina Rognoli, Camilo Ayala-Garcia, Davide Spallazzo, Venere Ferraro, Marinella Ferrara, Mario Ceconello, Andrea Ratti, Arian Bionda.

Design Department, Politecnico di Milano. Coordinator: Dr. Valentina Rognoli. Research funded by Fondo d’Ateneo per la Ricerca di Base (FARB) Politecnico di Milano.

ICS Materials is a fundamental research project at Politecnico di Milano, Design Department, aiming to explore the intersection area between Design, New Materials and Human-Computer Interaction. Funded by FARB (Fondo di Ateneo per la Ricerca di Base / Fundamental Research Funding).

In the last years, new classes of advanced materials are emerging, influenced by computing, Internet of Things (IoT), and hybridization of design with science, due to an increased technological development, miniaturization, and democratization. They are changing the available domain of design materials and the materiality of the world where we live. These are ICS Materials, an acronym that stands for Interactive, Connected, and Smart Materials.

They include hybrid material systems that are: (i) able to establish a two-way exchange of information with non-human and human entities; (ii) linked to another entity or to an external source, to transfer and receive information, not only through the internet and digital network; (iii) able to respond contextually and reversibly to external stimuli, by changing their properties and qualities; (iv) programmable, not only through software.

While research centers and companies around the world are experimenting with these new materials, there is the need to reflect on their definition and classification, identify constraints, potentials, and impact on design and industry, develop a methodology to design with and for them, and envision future scenarios. The project ICS Materials is a step in this direction.

MFID - Materials as source for inspiration in design

Since the course of Design, Materials, and Processes was founded at Los Andes University, the philosophy behind is to teach future designers the power materials have in creating projects of any nature. The materials are responsible for giving meaning to what is created, as it is through them that products become real.
MFID is the name of the research carried out by professors Camilo Ayala G. and Amparo Quijano in 2011, the results showed the importance of not only knowing about materials but experimenting with them as a part of the design project. Through the dialogue that is created between the designer and the material, unprecedented product languages are created.

Researchers: Camilo Ayala-Garcia, Olga Amparo Quijano.

Design Department, Universidad de los Andes. University Funded Project.

Research partners and collaborators


Journal Articles

-Ayala-Garcia, C., Nieman Jansen, C.J. (2021). Reproponer el cuero desde una perspectiva de diseño sostenible. In: Cuaderno 126 | Centro de Estudios en Diseño y Comunicación, Universidad de Palermo. pp 31-41, ISSN: 1668-0227

-Rognoli, V. Ayala-Garcia, C. (2020). Materiales DIY: Un enfoque tecnológico de los materiales para el diseño. In: A3 Manos. Instituto Superior De Diseño. Universidad de la Habana, Volumen 12, Enero-Junio, 2020, ISSN: 2412-5105

-Vela, S.F., Ayala-Garcia, C.(2020). Émotions à la carte: Exploring emotional paradoxes through edible DIY-materials for product design. In: International Journal of Food Design, Volume 4, Issue 2, 2019, Pages 139-153, pp.139-153. ISSN:20566522 (Scopus)

– Rognoli, V., Ayala-Garcia, C. (2018). Materia emocional. Los materiales en nuestra relación emocional con los objetos. In: Revista Chilena de Diseño, rchd: creación y pensamiento, vol. 3 (4), pp.1-12. ISSN:0719-837X

-Rognoli, V., Ayala-Garcia, C. (2018). Material activism. New hybrid scenarios between design and technology. In: Cuaderno 70 | Centro de Estudios en Diseño y Comunicación, Universidad de Palermo. pp 105-115 ISSN: 1668-0227

– Ayala-Garcia, C., Rognoli V. (2017). The New Aesthetic of DIY-Materials. In: The Design Journal, volume 20, 2017 – Issue sup1: Design for Next: Proceedings of the 12th European Academy of Design Conference, Sapienza University of Rome, 12-14 April 2017, edited by Loredana Di Lucchio, Lorenzo Imbesi, Paul Atkinson, ISBN 978-1-138-09023-1, pp. S375-S389 (Scopus)

-Rognoli, V., Ayala-Garcia, C., Parisi, S. (2015). The material experiences as DIY-Materials: self production of wool filled starch based composite (NeWool) In: Making Futures Journal Vol IV, Plymouth College of Art. ISSN: 2042-1664

-Ayala, C. Patiño, L. (2014) Estrategias para mejorar las prácticas de la enseñanza y el aprendizaje de los materiales y los procesos para el diseño de productos en Colombia. In: Revista MasD N°14, Vol. 8 ISSN: 2027-095X

-Muñoz, L., Ayala, C. (2013) Estudio De La Compatibilidad Geométrica De Sub-Sistemas Para El Diseño De Un Vehículo Híbrido Todoterreno. Scientia Et Technica v.18 (pp.321 – 326), ISSN: 0122-1701

-Ayala, C. Quijano, A, Ruge, C. (2011) Los materiales como medio para estimular procesos de creación. In: Dearq v.8 (pp.44 – 53) ISSN: 2011-3188

Book Chapters

-Rognoli, V., Ayala-Garcia, C. (2021). Defining the DIY-Materials approach. In: Materials Experience 2: Expanding territories of materials and design. Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN: 978-0-12-819244-3 (Scopus)

-Rognoli, V., Ayala-Garcia, C., Pollini, B. (2021). DIY Recipes: Ingredients, processes & materials qualities. In: MaDe: Material Designers, Boosting talents toward circular economies. pp 27-33 ISBN: 978-84-09-24439-3

-Orozco-Alvarez, M., Ayala-Garcia, C., Zuleta Montoya, F., Avila Forero, J.S. (2021). La Investigación-Creación en Diseño: cuatro casos de generación de nuevo conocimiento desde la disciplina. In: Investigación + Creación a través del territorio. pp 74-105 ISBN 978-958-5123-83-0

– Ayala-Garcia, C., Rognoli, V. (2019). The Materials Generation. In L. Rampino, I. Mariani, (Eds). Advancements in Design Research. Milano. Franco Angeli. ISBN: 978-88-917-7229-9


-Zhou, Z., Rognoli, V., Ayala-Garcia, C. (2018). Educating designers through Materials Club. In: Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Higher Education Advances (HEAd’18). Valencia, Spain, June 2018 – ISBN:978-84-9048-690-0

-Parisi, S., Spallazzo, D., Ferraro, V., Ferrara, M., Ceconello, M., Ayala-Garcia, C., Rognoli, V. (2018). Mapping ICS Materials: Interactive, Connected, and Smart Materials. In: Karwowski, Waldemar, Ahram, Tareq (Eds.). Intelligent Human Systems Integration, Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Intelligent Human Systems Integration (IHSI 2018): Integrating People and Intelligent Systems, January 7-9, 2018, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Volume 722 of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing series, ISBN 978-3-319-73888-8. pp.1-7 (Scopus)

Ayala-Garcia, C., Rognol, V., Karana, E. (2017). Five Kingdoms of DIY Materials for Design. In Alive. Active. Adaptive: Proceedings of International Conference on Experiential Knowledge and Emerging Materials (EKSIG 2017), June 19-20, Delft, the Netherlands, pp. 222-234. (Scopus)

Rognoli, V., Ayala-Garcia, C., Bengo, I. (2017) DIY-Materials as enabling agents of innovative social practices and future social business. In: Proceedings of International Congress of Design FORMA 2017, Cuba.

Parisi, S., Rognoli, V., Ayala-Garcia, C. (2016). Designing materials experiences through passing of time – Material driven design method applied to mycelium-based composites. In: Celebration & Contemplation. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Design and Emotion 2016 (pp. 239-255). ISBN/EAN: 978-94-6186-725-4 (Scopus)

Rognoli, V., Ayala-Garcia, C., Parisi, S. (2016). The emotional value of Do-It-Yourself materials. In: Celebration & Contemplation. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Design and Emotion 2016 (pp. 633-641). ISBN/EAN: 978-94-6186-725-4 (Scopus)

Ayala-Garcia, C (2015) The Basis of Processes – Experimenting with Food to Re-Shape the Industry Language. In: Cumulus Milan-The Virtuous Circle Proceedings (pp.84) .ISBN: 978-88-386-7485-3

Ayala, C. (2014). Experimenting With Materials – A Source For Designers To Give Meaning To New Applications. In: The colors of care: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Design and Emotion 2014 (pp. 408-417). ISBN: 978-958-774-070-7 (Scopus)