Intensive Design Labs
19 November 2010
After analysing the exchange of knowledge between designers and firms, Intensive Design Labs (IDL) created project laboratories with flexible structures conceived and planned according to the objectives and results that the client firm wants to achieve, offering the chance to create a team of designers that works within the company for a defined period and according to a precise brief. These are not theoretical or academic planning exercises, but a real team of designers followed by two project leaders – Patrizia Scarzella and Valentina Downey – who participate actively in the laboratory, coordinating, managing and refining the activities of the participants.
The difference in their backgrounds – Patrizia Scarzella, an architect and journalist, is an image and communication expert, while Valentina Downey is a product designer with considerable experience in coordinating designers and project laboratories for Italian and foreign firms – enables them to develop and follow the laboratories from the points of view of both the communication strategy and the product. Together with the firm and its marketing and R&D departments, Intensive Design Lab analyses or formulates the brief and then the length and structure of the Lab is formulated ad hoc, according to a flexible and personalised model.
This work of analysis enables the firm to check the objectives it would like to achieve. At this point a targeted planning team is put together, selecting from an international pool of talented young designers, newly graduated or qualified, who are part of a network created over seven years of work with the laboratories. The internationality of the group is a fundamental element to create cultural synergies and to provide results that consider the different perceptions of the product in the various countries. The teams are always different, depending on the subject and the objectives of the Lab. The participants are chosen for their personal excellence or for their ability and experience pertaining to the requirements of the theme of the Lab.
In order to achieve the agreed objectives, sector experts are brought in, even just for one day, who participate actively in the laboratory offering their knowledge and professional competence in the given field. The Lab produces concrete planning materials that can be used by the firm, and provides ideas for experimental and innovative products that are, however “possible” within the reality of the firm. The laboratories created so far have been for companies of different sizes, from the small and medium-sized firms of the furniture sector, to the multinational glass manufacturers and even innovation projects for public bodies.
The projects tackled have included the fields of product design, graphic design and communication, such as objects for the kitchen, objects for the table, tin plate packaging, packaging for plants, home furnishings, operative office furniture, new trends for indoor and outdoor furnishings, new possible applications for materials, colours and finishings. The project leaders play an important role at the end of the laboratory when they process and determine the most significant findings of the planning, which constitute the outline for the firm’s acquisition of the results. Cooperation can continue by following the development of the birth of new products and new communication processes.
The strength of Intensive Design Labs compared to the traditional system of consultancy or interior office design, is that the team of designers works together with all the departments of the firm and thus the virtuous exchange of knowledge that we mentioned at the beginning is easier and faster. In fact, the firm and all the people working in the various departments are involved in the project, which is present in the firm only for a limited time, and are responsible for the transfer of information and know-how.
On the other hand, the working group, stimulated and led by the project leaders who worked with the firm in the analysis of the brief, has a direct and rapid understanding of the real needs of all the departments of the firm and thus can achieve the set objectives in a short time. This is why we believe that building a custom-made design laboratory is today one of the best methods for a company to use to define new products or new communication strategies in a short space of time.