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  1. Community Design with Lego Serious Play

    Community Design with Lego Serious Play

    Every community practices the design of itself, as Arturo Escobar has pointed out in his book Designs for the Pluriverse. How can this metadesign process be more creative, imaginative, and conscious? Lego Serious Play can support Community Design in a few ways: materialize abstract values that a community wants to express, map community assets, anchor […] - Jul 20, 2024
  2. Conscious design for a women shelter (2023)

    Conscious design for a women shelter (2023)

    Camila Kutiski heard from a friend about a shelter service for victims of domestic violence in her neighborhood. She visited the non-profit running the service and decided to support the people involved with her Graphic Design final work at UTFPR. The first thing she did was to understand the existing design activities in the non-profit. […] - Feb 24, 2024
  3. Rios Metadesign (2023)

    Rios Metadesign (2023)

    The final work of Isabela Luiza Molin de Siqueira in her Bachelor of Design studies at UTFPR is the redesign of a Computer Supported Collaborative Work platform called Rios, a tool used by social movements and non-profit organizations in Brazil that builds on their past experience of using Corais. Rios is developed by Eita Coop. […] - Jul 11, 2023
  4. SURU'BA (2022)

    SURU’BA (2022)

    SURU’BA (“good thing” in Tupi and “orgy” in Portuguese) is the final work of João Conrado Dembiski and João Victor Tarran in their Bachelor in Design at UTFPR. Inspired by anarchist and decolonial thinking, the duo designed a modular open-source furniture system that could be cheaply produced in Curitiba, the locality of their studies. Their […] - Jul 30, 2022
  5. Storyblocks


    Storyblocks is the tridimensional equivalent of the storyboard: it represents the basic elements of a scene sequence in a film or animation movie through building blocks. After building the scene and materializing its components, the framing and camera movements can be experimented with using still photos or improvised videos. It is a fast low-fidelity technique […] - Mar 26, 2022
  6. Historical ecosystem map

    Historical ecosystem map

    Map with a conceptual diagram of the ecosystem of interactions between people and objects in a specified past or future. These objects were firstly used as protagonists of an object theater (Buur & Friis, 2015) and, second, mapped to local ecology. Teachers provided a corkwood plate, pins, strings, Lego building blocks, and a printed map […] - Feb 3, 2022
  7. Object ecology map

    Object ecology map

    Showing an object that has endured many decades and telling the human stories that this object was part of, highlighting its relation to other objects, places, and people. The relations are drawn with strings tied to pins over several corkwood plates, which effectively grouped the objects. Can be used in Speculative Design to ground future […] - Feb 3, 2022
  8. Materiality in Codesign: interaction analysis of a design experiment with building blocks

    Materiality in Codesign: interaction analysis of a design experiment with building blocks

    Paschoalin, Larissa and Van Amstel, Frederick M.C. (2021). Materialidade no codesign: análise interacional de um experimento com blocos de montar (Codesign Materiality: interactional analysis of a building blocks experiment). Design e Tecnologia, 11(23). - Jan 12, 2022
  9. Visual oxymoron

    Visual oxymoron

    Visual oxymoron is a graphic representation of a contradiction codesigned by those who face that contradiction in everyday life. In written language, an oxymoron is a figure of language that displays interconnected opposing ideas. A visual oxymoron displays the opposite forces of a contradiction in a single image. The representation can be made through visual […] - Jan 27, 2021
  10. Visual dialogue

    Visual dialogue

    Visual dialogue is a hybrid between visual thinking, scribing, and dialogic action. Concepts unknown to a conversation partner are expressed through simultaneous verbal and visual sketches. In design projects, these concepts are often formed throughout the conversation, as they represent new things in the world. Concepts are often built on existing or provisional pattern languages. […] - Jan 27, 2021
  11. Existentialist supervisory practice

    Existentialist supervisory practice

    When supervising a thesis project, I begin by helping the student to locate the project within personal, professional, and societal development. I advise them to think about their projects as existential projects, as a way of becoming more than what they already are. We stumble upon the barriers to becoming more and question who else […] - Jan 27, 2021
  12. Commoning Design: a Pluriversal Slide-Deck

    Commoning Design: a Pluriversal Slide-Deck

    The Commoning Design pluriversal slide-deck is the outcome of a collaborative effort which involved people with different interests, skills, and backgrounds united by their shared curiosity around the relationship between commoning and design. Such effort took place in the context of the Participatory Design Conference 2020 and organized around the workshop “Commoning Design and Designing Commons”. This deck […] - Dec 8, 2020
  13. The political body as a fulcrum for radical imagination in metadesign

    The political body as a fulcrum for radical imagination in metadesign

    Angelon, Rafaela; Van Amstel, Frederick M.C. (2020). The political body as a fulcrum for radical imagination in metadesign. In: Proceedings of the III Design Culture Symposium, Unisinos, Porto Alegre, Brasil. - Nov 9, 2020
  14. Value Voting

    Value Voting

    This method uses the marvelous PIRC’s Values Deck to visualize the priorities of a group, project, or organization. The method is rather simple: gathering together the people involved to vote on the human values they want to collective produce. Each card represents a human value, such as sustainability, creativity, wealth, and so on. They are […] - Jun 10, 2020
  15. Value-nets


    New business generates value through a provisional network of relations, including strategic partners, suppliers, and clients. Young entrepreneurs usually have a hard time understanding this point and visualizing their network of relations. The Business Value-Net Model begins with an ice-breaker of visualizing network relations using yarn. Then, it proceeds to model value-net using Lego, digital […] - May 18, 2020
  16. Lego Physical Oxymoron (LEPOX)

    Lego Physical Oxymoron (LEPOX)

    LEPOX 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 terms — a physical […] - Apr 6, 2020
  17. Stake Holder Analysis with Lovely Links (SHALL)

    Stake Holder Analysis with Lovely Links (SHALL)

    SHALL is short for Stake Holder Analysis with Lovely Links. It consists of mapping all the stakeholders possibly interested in a problem through their organization and inter-organizational relationships. Each stakeholder is mapped as a doll and relationships are loosely represented as a thread connecting the dolls. The game starts by asking the participants to map […] - Apr 6, 2020
  18. Creativity


    30 hours – Graphic Design — UTFPR Creativity is not a personal trait of a genius but a social activity that can be perfected through practice. The basic premise of this course was featured in a news item on TV Paraná Turismo. The theoretical framework of this course is based on Cultural-Historical Theory of Creativity (Vygotsky) […] - Mar 28, 2020
  19. Designing Metaobjects for Collaboration, Participation and Debate

    Designing Metaobjects for Collaboration, Participation and Debate

    This research theoretically develops and empirically tests the concept of metaobject in design projects with special needs for collaboration, participation, or debate. Metaobjects are objects that represent and support the design of new objects in metadesign processes, such as a sketch, a model, or a prototype. In design projects, metaobjects must represent multiple perspectives and […] - Mar 25, 2020
  20. Sustainable design

    Sustainable design

    Sustainable design (Design Theory 4) is a regular 30-hour course from the Design bachelor at UTFPR. My approach for this class was to avoid discussing sustainability as a technical issue and rather to deal with the political challenges of sustainability, the crisis of modernity, and the Anthropocene, in a similar way it was done in […] - Jun 11, 2019
  21. Lego prototyping

    Lego prototyping

    Lego is a great tool to build early prototypes of games and apps. I like. to stimulate students to supplement talking with making to increase shared understanding. Physical prototypes are quicker to build together in a team and can be used to test if ideas work in the real world. In this video, participants learn […] - Nov 22, 2018
  22. Problem Solution Problem (PSP)

    Problem Solution Problem (PSP)

    PSP is a simple game that quickly explores the design space for a particular project. It starts by asking for problem statements written on Post-its. Then, problems are exchanged and the competing teams need to solve the problems. The solutions go back to the first team, who needs to find problems for these solutions. The […] - Nov 1, 2018
  23. Idea Market

    Idea Market

    Idea Market is a design game I developed for pitching and developing ideas while looking for partners in entrepreneurship programs. Participants start alone with their idea and progress by selling it to someone who is willing to give up his or her own idea. It is a very competitive game since nobody wants to give […] - Nov 1, 2018
  24. Change Laboratory

    Change Laboratory

    Change Laboratory is a method developed by CRADLE to help organizations change routines, deal with conflicts, and create new ideas through a participatory approach. The method consists of three different moments: 1) presenting contradictions found through ethnographic research in the organization; 2) analyzing the systemic nature of these contradictions through organizational models; 3) generating new […] - Nov 1, 2018
  25. LegoML


    Unified Modeling Language (UML) is a set of standard diagrams and notations for creating software. We created at PUPCR a physical version of these diagrams with Lego to enable the participation of designers, clients, and users in software architecture and modeling activities. The concrete representations help the participants understand and make good use of software […] - Nov 1, 2018
  26. Improvised Videos

    Improvised Videos

    Improvised Videos are short films recorded with smartphones to support a codesign process. They represent everyday scenarios where the design object plays a protagonist role. The interaction with the design object is depicted through variegated film and theater techniques such as enactment, role playing, props, puppets, cuts, and transitions. The main advantage of using video […] - Nov 1, 2018
  27. Expansive Play

    Expansive Play

    I’m developing further the Lego Serious Play method to support Expansive Design, in particular, to represent tough contradictions in a humorous style. This is useful when people avoid talking about contradictions openly or deny their existence. The pretext of play enables critical voices and radical alternatives to emerge. References Van Amstel, Frederick M.C. (2021). The […] - Oct 31, 2018
  28. The alienation of design possibilities

    The alienation of design possibilities

    The progressive contraction of design representations is synchronized with the alienation of design possibilities. Alienation means that some of the design possibilities are taken out of the design space and, therefore, never considered. These possibilities are put aside for being unacceptable, unthinkable, or unknown. This can happen by many reasons. In the socialization of the […] - Mar 16, 2015
  29. The socialization of the design space

    The socialization of the design space

    The expansion of the design object from materials to experiences is synchronized with the socialization of the design space. The design space can be understood in three ways: Saying that, I believe there is a strong link between the physical, the social and the mental, one feeding the other. In that sense, the design space […] - Mar 16, 2015
  30. The contraction of design representations

    The contraction of design representations

    In the last post, I described the expansion of the design object in the last centuries. This process is followed by another historical change in the opposite direction. Instead of expanding together with the object, the design representations are becoming smaller and more precise. The representations are being contracted in the hopes of corralling the […] - Mar 12, 2015
  31. The low-tech visualization method

    The low-tech visualization method

    The World Usability Day was for the first time organized here at the University of Twente. In this event, I shared a practical output of my PhD research: a method to gather user data using low-tech materials. The method consists of collecting data through low-tech visualization and using the data to build high-tech visualizations, following […] - Nov 25, 2014
  32. Participation and transdisciplinarity

    Participation and transdisciplinarity

    Participation is an issue that crosses the boundaries of a single discipline. Its fundamental assumption is that people can make better decisions together than led by a single discipline. To approach participation in the renovation of healthcare facilities, it is important to consider disciplines concerned with the built environment – Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC), […] - May 15, 2014
  33. The Expansive Hospital Game (2013)

    The Expansive Hospital Game (2013)

    The Expansive Hospital is a board game in which players collaborate and compete to build a hospital with plastic blocks. The game design is based on research conducted with three healthcare construction projects in the Netherlands, commissioned by Pioneering. The research found that hospital design is often over schedule due to the conflicts of interests […] - Nov 12, 2013
  34. How to knit spatial layout with workflow

    How to knit spatial layout with workflow

    After realizing that the use situation is more complicated than what they thought, the managers from the CMI project organized a second user workshop to check if the current floor plan fits the workflow of scanning patients in machines such as EGG, PET-MRI, MRI, and CT. In the last workshop, a lot of time was […] - Oct 2, 2012
  35. UX Cards (2011)

    UX Cards (2011)

    A card deck for collaborative planning user experience projects. Each card is a UX method, with the necessary inputs and the expected outputs. The cards can be organized in a linear fashion to represent the planned process. There are also cards for representing risks, expected delays, and extra human/financial resources. UX Cards enables pattern-based codesign […] - Nov 24, 2011
  36. The uses of the human body in CAD

    The uses of the human body in CAD

    Yesterday I was in Germany for a collaborative meeting with some researchers working with computing and spation reasoning. I presented a poster outlining the challenges of my PhD research. Schloss Etelsen, the venue, couldn’t be better for reflecting about space abstract modeling. Look at the site: Coincidence or not, the 19th century castle had been […] - Jul 1, 2011
  37. Co-creation tools for Architecture

    Co-creation tools for Architecture

    Today I found a very nice example of what I’m researching in my PhD program. Liz Sanders is a well know practitioner that have written mainly about using expressive tools for users to collaborate in design process. Her papers always have some colorful pictures like that: Today I discovered through a record talk she gave […] - Jun 28, 2011
  38. Tools for concrete collaboration

    Tools for concrete collaboration

    The traditional free meeting model for participation where supposedly every stakeholder can talk about their concerns often doesn’t satisfy the participants, for many reasons. The consensus is built up on participant’s fatigue; when one give up discussing a project stake not because she start to agree, but because she’s too tired to discuss it. This […] - Apr 29, 2011