Density Design is a research framework and an experimental laboratory, born as a laboratory course in the final year of the Master Degree Course in Communication Design at the Politecnico di Milano.
Using complexity as a keyword to understand reality, combining it with a continuous research for information aesthetics and representation, DensityDesign explores the emergent relationships among communication design, information visualization and complex systems.
It moves in an emergent multidisciplinary field that could be called Space of Actions. Established in September 2004 DensityDesign is a platform for verifying the potential of communication artefacts in helping decision making processes and the Communication Design ability to facilitate dialogues within participatory actions.

The DensityDesign project is currently coordinated by Prof. Paolo Ciuccarelli (Politecnico di Milano - Department of Industrial Design, Arts, Communication and Fashion) and continuously developed trough the PhD research activity of Giorgio Caviglia, Michele Mauri and Azzurra Pini.

Four professors from different disciplines participate to the current edition (2011/2012) of the "DensityDesign" course within the Faculty of Design in Politecnico di Milano:
Donato Ricci (Post-Doc research fellow at Sciences Po)
Stefano Mandato (Graphic Designer and Design Strategist, from Total Tool);
Salvatore Zingale (Prof. in Semiotics, from Politecnico di Milano);
Tommaso Venturini (Research coordinator at the médialab of Sciences Po Paris).

Other people in the past editions contributed to the growth of the course:
Francesca Valsecchi (Communication and Service Design practitioner and researcher, from Tektao Urban Design);
Marco Fattore (Prof. in Statistics, from Università Bicocca di Milano);
Marco Maiocchi (Prof. in Networks, from Politecnico di Milano);
Alessandro Casinovi (Graphic Designer);
Federico Vidari (a co-founder of the DensityDesign framework, we hope to have him back soon!);
Simona Maschi (founder of the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design);
Mauro Carichini (Graphic Designer, from Limbo);
Daniele Galiffa (Information Designer, from Mentegrafica);
Massimo Randone (Action Designer, from Connexine).

When acting within multi-organizational and multi-actorial contexts, where social interaction among stakeholders shows a highly complex behaviour, it is very important to build-up tools to share common perspectives and intention; these tools should take into account the conversational and dialogical nature of decision making processes.

In this framework we call these tools diagrams – maps, moodboard, storyboard, video scenarios: strategic (knowledge based) artefacts helping the decision makers to build-up a vision about:
(I) the elements of the (complex) system;
(II) the connections and the relationships among the elements;
(IV) the behaviour of the system;
(V) the future evolutions of the systems.
In the DensityDesign course, the students use these tools to represent and understand a complex system; then, they are asked to identify some possible evolutions of the system (throughout scenarios), and to design a communication strategy to "activate" the evolution.

The validation of the prior empirical finding of the laboratory course is based on:
* A on going Phd research on the role of diagrams in decision making process for design intervention in the field of mobility design;
* A blog that collect and organize et erogenous material about information visualization, complexity and design;
* A starting point for final thesis on these themes;
* A series of publishing initiative.

During the course we faced various (complex) systems:
* From the city (way-finding system and way-losing artefacts) to contemporary art (data and information management & event design);
* From the sports systems (in some way we have anticipated some of the Italian scandal about soccer) to ONG system (the relationship between found raising mechanism and the creation of a net of small humanitarian organizations).
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Density Design
June 2007
Milano, Italy