Laboratory of Design for Sustainability

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The LDS | Laboratory of Design for Sustainability is an interdisciplinary course within the educational path of the MA Degree course in Design of the University of Florence. The laboratory course addresses the issues concerning the challenge of sustainability – economic, social and environmental – and its implications in the design discipline in terms of product, service, communication and strategy.
During the first semester of the 2019-2020 academic year, a 6-month thematic seminar was activated within the laboratory regarding themes such as design for sustainability, design for social innovation and social inclusion.

Laboratory of Design for Sustainability - Design for migration
Laboratory of Design for Sustainability – Design for migration

The seminar saw a close collaboration with Terra di Tutti, a social enterprise located in Capannori (LU, Tuscany, Italy), which is a very young reality – born at the end of 2018 by the Odissea Social Cooperative. Terra di Tutti aims to enhance the craftsmanship skills of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the local area of Capannori, by activating a multidisciplinary craft workshop (carpentry, screen printing, serigraphy, tailoring, ceramic).

Laboratory of Design for Sustainability - Design for migration
Laboratory of Design for Sustainability – Design for migration

The thematic seminar was aimed at raising students’ awareness of social issues, such as immigration and job placement of migrants in the local craft communities. For the students, the main objective was to study the critical issues and typical peculiarities of a hybrid reality such as Terra di Tutti social enterprise, and to understand how to increase their competitiveness on the territory, bringing innovation and activating their own network of community relations.

Laboratory of Design for Sustainability - Design for migration
Laboratory of Design for Sustainability – Design for migration

The Design for Social Innovation seminar therefore saw the close design and cultural interaction between the students of the MA Degree course and the refugees who work within Terra di Tutti. Following a systemic and strategic design approach, the design scenarios identified and carried out by the students addressed the reality of the social enterprise in question at different scales (product, communication, service, process and strategy), all producing final prototypes in detail.

The projects’ prototypes were all welcomed with great enthusiasm by Terra di Tutti and some of them were chosen by the social enterprise to be used and activated immediately (website, product catalog, exhibition stands).


LDS-Design Laboratory for Sustainability is a research laboratory of the Design Campus of the University of Florence. The project team that worked in the seminar was composed by Prof. Giuseppe Lotti, Prof. Marco Fioravanti and the Ph D researchers Irene Fiesoli and Margherita Vacca.
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Terra di Tutti is a permanent workshop of artisan and artistic production in which the guests of the reception centers for migrant people work together with local artisans in the creation of ideas, stories and objects. The Terra di Tutti team that collaborated in the seminar was composed by Kalia, Musa, Victor, Fabio Ballerini, Tonya Pierallini, Tiziano Falchi, Silvia Barsi and Elisa Galli.