Skip to content


  1. What is a contradiction and why it is relevant to design research?

    What is a contradiction and why it is relevant to design research?

    Design research is increasingly concerned with being part of change processes in everyday life, in communities, in organizations, and in large-scale sociotechnical systems. Despite the growing interest, the field is not prepared to deal with this topic. The predominant theories in design research were crafted to understand individuals interacting with products, or groups of people […] - Apr 21, 2020
  2. LEPOX


    Lego Physical Oxymoron (LEPOX), which challenges the participants to collaboratively identify and materialize a contradiction using Lego pieces. This game is inspired by the LEGO Serious Play ® method, which relies upon physical metaphors for improving team communication. The participants are invited to make a model of what they perceive to be a contradiction in […] - Apr 6, 2020
  3. Contradiction-driven design

    Contradiction-driven design

    I have developed for my Design Thinking course a comprehensive explanation on how design can be part of big transformations in society. Instead of making changes to society, as in the paradigm of “social impact”, I teach my students to discover transformations already in course, understand them, and support them. The concept of contradiction is key to my approach: a unite […] - Oct 28, 2016
  4. The social production of design space

    The social production of design space

    Abstract: The production of design space refers to the activity of an individual or a group of individuals considering alternatives and possibilities for a design brief. Design studies often consider constraints to be a major determinant of design space, yet this paper introduces the notion of contradiction to underscore a dialectical determination of design space. The […] - May 2, 2016
  5. PhD thesis - Expansive design: designing with contradictions

    PhD thesis – Expansive design: designing with contradictions

    Abstract: This thesis looks at the practice of design as it emerges in architectural design and service design. The lens adopted considers design both as an activity as well as a space full of contradictions, which are accumulated tensions. Design activity is a professional occupation that interacts with other activities, whereas design space is a […] - Dec 14, 2015
  6. Representing contradictions without trying to solve them

    Representing contradictions without trying to solve them

    Design-oriented ethnography seeks to find opportunities for innovation in social activities. Disturbances, tensions, and conflicts are sometimes used to ground or justify these opportunities, as if they could be avoided by an innovation. Ethnographers know that social contradictions cannot be resolved by design since they depend on collective endeavors; however, they still need to provide […] - Nov 20, 2015
  7. How to represent contradictions

    How to represent contradictions

    Contradictions are social tensions that accumulate in the history of a society. When they reach the peak, conflicts come to the surface and society has to take action to change what is feeding the contradiction. In simple words, it is necessary to attack the root of the problem. There are design approaches that try to […] - Jan 5, 2015
  8. Designing with contradictions

    I just made a pecha-kucha presentation about my PhD research in 6’40”. I try to explain what I mean with Expansive Design, the design approach I’m building up that takes advantage of social contradictions, instead of trying to solve them. Contradictions are social relationships that have a long history and cannot be solved by any […] - Mar 12, 2014
  9. Contradictions in the design space

    Contradictions in the design space

    Abstract: The design space is a concept often used to encompass all possible designs for a given brief, impossible to be determined, but passive of manipulation by creative designers. The concept as such cannot prevent deterministic accounts of design activity. With the aim of overcoming determinism, this concept is reconsidered beyond the cognitive realm, as […] - Feb 17, 2014
  10. Making games to communicate research findings

    Making games to communicate research findings

    After two years conducting field studies about the participation of healthcare professionals in construction projects, I decided to make a board game based on my findings. The target players are those same professionals I’m studying. The idea is that the construction and healthcare professionals can switch their roles for a while and understand their different […] - Apr 4, 2013
  11. Using Activity Theory to situate Design Thinking

    Using Activity Theory to situate Design Thinking

    During my last trip to Brazil, together with Andre Malheiro, I conducted a Design Thinking workshop at Rede Globo, the producer of the famous Brazilian soap operas. I’ve been experimenting using Activity Theory as a framework for Design Thinking in these kind of workshops for a while, but after this, I got an important insight: […] - Oct 31, 2011