Design Research

Opening Up Design: Investigating the Changing Role of the Designer and Consumer in a Post-Industrial Society (preliminary title)

The consumer is increasingly more involved in the design of everyday products. 3D Printing and software toolkits enable the layperson to be part of the design process in a way that was not possible in the industrial society. How will this emerging new role of the lay designer change the role of the professional designer? My research investigates the phenomena that challenge the current understanding of industrial design that is the way products are designed, their aesthetics and the accountability of the consumer as well as the designer. I am interested in how consumers could be part of the design process in an engaging way by using toolkits as a means to bridge the gap between design and use of products. The intended outcome of my doctoral research is a method for design practitioners that will enable them to design toolkits for laypeople.

My supervisors are Erik Stolterman (School of Informatics, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA / Umeå Institute of Design) and Anna Valtonen (Aalto University, Helsinki). My research is supported by the Swedish doctoral school Designfakulteten.

Research interests: democratization of design, 3D printing, digital fabrication, toolkits, computational design, technological mediation, postphenomenology

Other things I do

I teach design students in the design process and in creative methods for both product and service design projects at Umeå Institute of Design.

I'm also setting up FabLab Umeå, an open workshop space where anyone can learn how to use digital fabrication technologies such as 3D printing, laser cutting and CNC milling. Through workshops people learn the basics of digital fabrication and are encouraged to explore and make their own ideas into tangible objects. The FabLab is run by a group of volunteers with diverse backgrounds and interests who host the workshops, initiate projects and document the things that are made in the lab. FabLab Umeå is located in Sliperiet, which is a meeting space and collaborative environment, and part of Umeå University.



Investigating Lay Design through Prototyping a Toolkit for Audio Equipment, Research Through Design 2015, 25-27 March 2015, Cambridge, UK

Investigating the Unexplored Possibilities of Digital-Physical Toolkits in Lay Design, International Journal of Design, Vol.8 No.2, pp.15-28, 30 August 2014

Investigating the Changing Relation Between Consumer and Designer in Post-Industrial Design, co-author Anna Valtonen, Design Research Society 2014, 16-19 June 2014, Umeå, Sweden

WordPress of Objects: Addressing Layman Participation in a Post-Industrial Society, PerFab: Workshop on Personal and Pervasive Fabrication, UbiComp '13, 9 September 2013, Zurich, Switzerland

Identifying User-as-Designer Behaviors When Designing Through Toolkits, Crafting the Future 10th European Academy of Design Conference, 17-19 April 2013, Gothenburg, Sweden

A Model for Evaluating the Solution Space of Mass Customization Toolkits, International Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, Vol. 3 No. 4, 2012, pp. 205-214

A Model for Evaluating Mass Customization Toolkits, 5th International Conference on Mass Customization & Personalization in Central Europe, 19-21 September 2012, Novi Sad, Serbia

Exploring Parametric Design: Consumer Customization of an Everyday Object, co-author Erik Stolterman, Design Research Society 2012, 1-4 July 2012, Bangkok, Thailand

A Comparison of Mass Customization Toolkits for Consumer Products Produced by Rapid Manufacturing, MCPC2011, 18-19 November 2011, San Francisco, USA

Presentations and Workshops

Presentation at 3D Printing Event, Dutch Design Week, 23 October 2013, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Workshop 'Alligators and Algorithms: How Nature and Computation Come Together', Exploring the future of product design by combining biomimicry, computational design and 3D printing, co-host Ernst-Jan Mul, Philips Design, 29 August 2013, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Presentation 'Layman-design through additive manufacturing', Philips Design, 22 August 2013, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Presentation 'Is the future plastic?', 3D Printing Event, Dutch Design Week, 25 October 2011, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Presentation 'Mass Customization through Additive Manufacturing', Open and User Innovation Workshop, 4-6 July 2011, WU Vienna University of - Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria

Presentation 'Smart Safety Device', CHI Nederland The Web & Beyond 2010, 1 June 2010, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


I have a background is in product design, a master's degree in Industrial Design Engineering from Delft University of Technology and I have studied at the Politecnico di Milano. I worked for a Dutch design studio and graduated in 2009 at Philips Research in Eindhoven working on consumer electronics for teenagers. I started my PhD in industrial design at Umeå Institute of Design in 2010 focusing on the opportunities of 3D printing and lay design and investigating the changing role of the professional designer.

Furthermore, I'm making electronic music with synthesizers and Ableton Live.