Italian Design Day 2024 – Design for innovation, sustainability and inclusion in space

14.03.2024, 18:30

What does it mean to design for space and what does it imply?

In an extra-terrestrial environment characterized by confinement and reduced gravity, physical laws change, psychophysiological, postural and perceptive relationships are altered, and other design parameters must be applied. The most innovative aspect of Space Design is the ability to “predict” the impact of new environments and equipment in relation to who will use them in unknown conditions.

Annalisa Dominoni and Benedetto Quaquaro – experts in architecture and design for space and creators of the first course of Space Design supported by the European Space Agency (ESA) at the Design School of the Politecnico di Milano – lead us on the International Space Station, through a series of visionary projects, in what will be the future of exploration outside our planet, from the first settlements on the Moon and Mars to space tourism and beyond.

In their story emerges the role of design – bridge between science, technology and beauty – capable of generating innovation through sustainable and inclusive projects also in space that stimulate new reflections. Is it possible to build greenhouses for the cultivation, transformation and conservation of microalgae on the lunar surface? Or design prosthetic objects to extend the performance of astronauts and parastronauts with motor disabilities on the assumption that in space we are all disabled? In an interplanetary dimension will we be mutants in space and time?

The event is free of charge and will be held in English.

Italian Design Day 2024 – Design for innovation, sustainability and inclusion in space takes place in cooperation with the Italian Consulate General in Frankfurt.


About Annalisa Dominoni e Benedetto Quaquaro:

(a+b) Annalisa Dominoni and Benedetto Quaquaro are architects, designers, Ph.D. among the leading experts in architecture and design for space. They are professors at the Politecnico di Milano where they have created and directed since 2017 the first and only course of Space Design supported by the European Space Agency. In 2011 they founded the studio (a+b) dominoni quaquaro.

They carry out research activities at the Politecnico di Milano Department of Design, where they collaborate permanently with the main international space agencies and industries and with important design companies developing projects of extra-terrestrial habitats and objects to increase performance and well-being of astronauts in confined and low-gravity environments. ESA_LAB@PoliMi_Design is launched in 2022.

Their projects have been exhibited in several prestigious exhibitions, including the last 23rd International Triennale Unknown Unknowns. An introduction to mysteries (Milan 2023). They are guest speakers of international conferences, scientific events and television broadcasts.

They have published scientific essays on the culture of the project that have helped to affirm the strategic role of design for space. Recent publications include: Le città dell’universo. Come sarà abitare nel spazio (2023), Design of supporting systems for life in outer space. A design perspective on space missions near earth and beyond, Springer (2021), Space design learning. An innovative approach of space education through design, 69th International Astronautical Congress (2018), Space4Inspiration: Survival Lab. Designing countermeasures for natural disasters, Design Journal (2017), For designers with their head beyond the clouds, Maggioli, Politecnica Editorial Series (2015).

In 2016 they are invited to direct Couture in Orbit for Italy, the first fashion tech project curated by the European Space Agency (ESA): a capsule collection that integrates space technologies in clothes created to be worn on Earth, presented at the London Science Museum.

Since 2017, they have directed the first and only Space Design course, Space4InspirAction, supported by the European Space Agency, which they created at the Politecnico di Milano School of Design, within the International Master of Science’s Degree Integrated Product Design.

In 2019, commissioned by Thales, Alenia Spazio developed a new concept for a space station that for the first time introduced an entire habitable module for the entertainment of astronauts, promoting the avant-garde design for space: the sensory environment.

In 2011 they founded the design studio (a+b) dominoni quaquaro that operates in very different design areas: transportation design for large industry, fashion tech, collections of objects and furniture for companies, limited editions for art galleries and design. They designed the new Leonardo trains of the Milan subway for ATM produced by Hitachi Rail Italy in 2015 and the acoustic objects Pinna for Caimi Brevetti in 2019. Both projects have received the ADI Design Index – Compasso d’Oro XXV Award, Premio Eccellenze della Lombardia, and DIA Design Intelligence Award in 2020.