Lab Engagement: The Oslo School of Architecture and Design

The last of our overseas lab engagements took us to The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (also known as AHO) in particular to learn about their Centre for Design Research. We also spent a day at University of Oslo’s Department of Informatics and their Design of Information Systems Group. This was a really busy week and the account below only touches the surface, thanks to everyone who took the time to spend with us during our visit. There’s not enough space to thank everyone, but special thanks to Marie, Kin Encinas, Andrew, Alma and Martin (who spontaneously invited us to his game sound show and tell evening with NokNokAudio!).

Day 0

After a long day travelling we finally arrived in Oslo to find it was the final day the Fjord Oslo Light Festival on the Harbour Promenade.

Day 1

Arriving at AHO through the Oslo drizzle we were greeted by Kjetil Nordby who heads up the Ocean Industries Concept Lab, applying Research through Design to large scale industrial challenges. We met with our ‘fixer’ for the week ‪Marie Louise Juul Søndergaard and delivered our introductory talk about Design Research Works to a selection of students and staff.

Day 2

Day began with a research workshop exploring the concept of an Atlas for Design Research. In the afternoon we interviewed the Director of the Centre for Design Research, Andrew Morrison. We finished the day with a visit to Oslo’s Paradox Museum.

Day 3

Day 3 began with an enlightening interview with Birger Sevaldson (here is a link to Birger’s recently-released book on Designing Complexity and the methodology of and practice of systems oriented design). We’re certainly going to be doing some ‘gigamapping’ after discussing it at length. We went on to interview Marie Louise about her Biomenstrual project, involving designing multispeces menstrual care.

Day 4

On Day 4 Dave began the day with a 7am Sauna and (very cold) swim in the Fjord. Later we convened at University of Oslo where we were hosted by Alma Leora Culén and we presented our project before meeting students and meeting researchers. In the afternoon we returned to AHO to interview Steinar Killi, in particular discussing the value of student-led Design Research interventions with business.

Day 5

On our final day in Oslo we finished with an interview with Ted Matthews. Ted’s incredible doctoral work provides a unique perspective on service design, exploring how rituals (reminiscent of sacred rituals) can be leveraged as a design metaphor. We had several informal discussions with research students at AHO, attended the opening of an exhibition of student work, and concluded by discovering Marie Louise’s skills go far beyond Design Research and include impressive flame-extinguishing.

Written by

Dr Joseph Lindley

Joe leads Design Research Works and is a Senior Research Fellow at Lancaster University. He is passionate about the value of Design Research, in particular in applying that value to the challenges associated with emerging technologies, rapid societal change, and living sustainably. Probably best described as a 'generalist' his research practice usually involves material engagements with possible futures.