The Naked Sheep


I probably don’t blog about my students’ work enough, but this piece I particularly like because it was a collaboration between students who are actually working on different projects. The Naked Sheep is a collaboration between Tina Tomovic and “Anna & Juan“, AKA Josefina Eliggi and Luzius Schnellmann. (Luzius actually works as an assistant to the Design MA in Luzern but is collaborating with Josefina).


Anna & Juan explores the creation and re-discovery of sustainable, natural dyes and wool production at a local level, while Tina is looking at the nature of souvenirs and interactivity. Tina created as a souvenir idea for the Anna & Juan Pop-Up Store. It’s witty, playful and simple, which I always enjoy.

Tina also created the logo for the pop-up store flyer, which I can best describe as a kind of textile, crochet typography. What am I saying? I can best describe it with a picture:


Hello Dave. I’d like to interview you.


Hi folks – can you help me find some interviewees?

I’m working on some initial research into Ambient Assisted Living with the iHome Lab here in Luzern. The project is about bringing a human-centred design approach to an area that, despite it’s name, is heavily driven by technological development rather than people’s actual needs. (The project is called Human Centred Design for Ambient Assisted Living or HAAL, hence the image above).

To get some initial insights, I want to do some qualitative research interviews with people aged between 55 – 75 (plus or minus a couple of years) to ask them about their current technology usage in the home as well as some thoughts about their plans for their older years.

While the majority of people I want to interview will be fairly average users of home technology, I am also after a few people at the extreme ends. So, people who hate in-home technology and battle with it or people who are totally kitted out with home automation. In those extreme cases, the age range is less relevant because they’ll all be old one day like the rest of us.

If possible, the interviews would be in their homes so they can show me the things they love and hate, but there is some flexibility there (I’m interested in people’s workspaces too).

Some people near me in Germany or in Luzern, Zurich, Bern or Basel in Switzerland would be ideal. Friends, relatives or friends of friends work well because they tend to open up more if there is a link to someone they know.

If anyone has any suggestions for interviewees, please get in touch.

(Image stolen from, in turn stolen from ??)

DeSForM 2010 – 6th International Workshop on Design Semantics of Form and Movement


It seems it’s conference season. My colleague, Dagmar Steffen, is organising the DeSForM 2010, the 6th International Workshop on Design Semantics of Form and Movement held here in Luzern in November. Registrations are still open and it would greatly help the planning if they were not all last minute! (I know I’m a terrible last minute attendee to these things).

Luzern is a lovely city to visit and the program has some great highlights. Here is the info:

We invite you to DeSForM 2010, the 6th International Workshop on Design Semantics of Form and Movement.

The event takes place November, 3-5 at the Lucerne School of Art and Design, Switzerland.

The program includes keynotes by:

Excursions include visiting the Net’n’Nest Office at Vitra, Weil am Rhein, and the Designers’ Saturday in Langenthal.

Further information on the DeSForM site and you can register online here.

We look forward to welcoming you in Lucerne!

Come and Study in Luzern, Switzerland!


If you are interested in studying service design or product design, textiles or animage and living amongst some of the freshest air around, we’re currently taking applications for the Master of Arts in Design at the Hochschule Luzern.

The Masters is built out of two branches, Animage (animation, illustration, image) and Product Design Management, which has the major tracks of Products, Textiles and Services (which is the one I lead teaching service design).

You would need to be able to understand spoken and some written German at least, but many of the courses are taught in English (or a mixture) and most of the staff speak good English (plus French and Italian too – such is the benefit of the Swiss language mess cultural diversity).

Of course, I’d love to see some more service design students as we’re building up this new area and we’re also interested in taking on people moving across from other disciplines.

Having taught in a variety of places over the years, I can safely say that the advantages we have are that we’re a small school with great teaching staff. The small class sizes make for much closer teaching and attention, the studios are lovely and the location in Luzern is really pretty impressive:


(Image source: Juan Rubiano on Flickr)

More information is available in German here and English here. We also have a microsite in a mix of English and German.

If you’re interested, all the application details are there in English or German, or you can get in touch with me directly and I’ll pass on your details.

Teaching Service Design at Lucerne School of Art and Design

Regular readers of Playpen may have notice things have been somewhat quiet around here recently. There are two reasons for this. One is that Twitter has made an unexpected impact on my blogging. I was quite surprised by this, because it is somewhat of a symbiotic relationship, especially as my tweets are over there in the sidebar. I am yet to make a judgement about whether it is a positive thing that I can comment on something in 140 characters or whether it shows an ever diminishing level of caring about putting together a coherent piece of writing. I’m sure this has affected others out there – has twittering bled your blog dry?


The other, rather more exciting reason, is that I started a new post as a Research Fellow/Lecturer (professor with a small p to you folks in the USA) in Service Design at the Lucerne School of Art and Design, part of the Hochschule Luzern in Switzerland. As the title suggests, it is a mix of research and teaching. I am predominantly teaching on the Masters of Product Design and Management, but dip into a couple of BA courses too.

So, expect the posts here to tend a bit more towards services, but I have long seen interaction/experience design with the broader lens that service design affords, so I don’t imagine the content will radically change. Diving headlong into the bureaucracy that working in a public education institution, in another country (especially Switzerland) entails is in itself a pretty good opportunity to experience the complexity of service offerings both good and bad.