Research field

Design of connected objects, data sculpture, and new materialities.


Today, the action and production of those who design objects spread out  both in the tangible materiality and in the fields of nonmaterial computing. At the seams, these objects articulate the two areas.

Indeed, the designer is led to think, draw and make objects emerge which connect and interface the tangible world and the digital environment. To do so, there are technologies from engineering and science (embedded electronics, ambient computing, etc.) information, networks and design media known as “dematerialized” (internet, data, design software); hybrid manufacturing methods (3D printers, CNC, etc.) and new materialities (from synthetics, the living etc.).

Algorithmic objects are equipped with connection, communication and calculation capacities. Both receivers and transmitters, they tend towards a form of intelligence qualified as ‘artificial’. Sensitive to their environment and humans, they pick up, quantify, compute and transmit.

Addressing the nature of connected and computational objects in a speculative way, the research programme questions their ubiquitous dimension, their ability to emit, receive, pick up and process data, as well as their growing autonomy in the spaces they fill and deter

How does the interconnection of these objects, with both embedded and network distributed intelligence, redefine our relation with the world, and following which logic?

How do data, received and disseminated by augmented objects, accumulated in server farms then analyzed, participate in the algorithimisation of our lives?


Speculative design: the programme experiments an approach and methodology of research-creation which defines a design, both speculative and performative, as a way of considering the possible and the real, to go beyond an exclusively critical position.

Data sculpture: How are data, in the age of neural networks and artificial intelligence, likely to form, inform the object by embodying the matter, in a critical, political even poetic manner.

Computational crafts: How by appropriating and hijacking the calculability processes and modelization tools, can the artist and designer today, define new crafts from DIY coding to prototyping?


Research Professors at ECOLAB :
Caroline Zahnd (director), Olivier Bouton, Sylvia Fredriksson

Associate Students Researchers of the Advanced Research Degree (French DSRD): Léa Fernandes, Antoine Blouin