cod. 1009649

Academic year 2023/24
3° year of course - Second semester
Professor responsible for the course unit
integrated course unit
12 credits
course unit

Learning objectives

The main objective of the "Food Social Design" laboratory is to prepare students to become designers who are attentive to the challenges of sustainable and inclusive development of territories and societies, developing a critical and aware design approach to the different dimensions of food, including those of a socio-cultural nature. Students will experience the act of designing with awareness, interpretative skills, sensitivity to context, needs, resources and the impacts produced.

The Food Social Design laboratory will provide students with new knowledge and skills useful for developing, enabling, and conducting food-oriented projects by combining the creative dimension with economic, environmental and social sustainability. The laboratory will also be an opportunity to practise and apply what has been learnt during the course already completed.

Upon completion of the laboratory, the student is expected to be able to:

Know and understand the meaning of the concept of "Food Social Design" and the principles of the Social Design and Food Design disciplines;

Know and understand the methodological and theoretical principles of Social Design and Food Design and the related sociotechnical dimensions;

Know the different stages of the design cycle, with a focus on the theoretical and methodological principles of inclusive and participatory design, and multi-stakeholder processes;

Know and practice the design tools with emphasis on tools for: scenario analysis, case study research, concept generation, experimentation and prototyping, and project reporting;

Mature awareness of contemporary social challenges addressed to food issues, social impact and the related responsibility for designers;

Recognize the different work contexts (e.g., private, third sector, public administration, consulting agencies, universities and research institutions) and the specific roles, tools and language to be adopted for each;

Know how to explore and understand theoretical issues specific to the relevant literature, with critical and cross-content linking skills;

Recognizing and taking into account, in the selection and implementation of appropriate technology, the cultural, social and environmental peculiarities of the analyzed context;

Promote the use of technologies from a replicability, appropriateness and accessibility perspective;

Know how to apply acquired knowledge in interpreting context and demands;

Know how to apply specific and necessary design approaches (postures and tools) in relation to: the social challenges, the actors and the contexts of intervention.


The student is expected to be able to approach the "Food Social Design" laboratory with the appropriate methodological, cultural and terminological knowledge gained during the teachings previously followed.

Course unit content

The issues of access to food and the accessibility and sustainability of food systems, both for marginalized people and for fragile territorial contexts, are inextricably linked and influenced by the complex relationship between design domains (products, services, processes and systems), society and the socio-economic and cultural characteristics of the contexts.

The "Food Social Design" laboratory combines the perspectives of Social Design and Food Design. It aims to promote knowledge, skills and competences that are both specific to disciplinary orientations and strategic to support projects related to the autonomy and food education, the food insecurity, the relationship between health and food, governance and food policies.

The term "Food Social Design" refers to those projects that address the various phenomena that intersect the social and food issues of society. The noun “Social” represents the knowledge and approaches specific to the discipline of Social Design, which is attentive to the needs of individuals, communities and contemporary social problems, with the aim of promoting change towards collective well-being.

The noun “Food” represents the knowledge and approaches related to the field of Food Design, where food, food systems and services become objects of the design processes.

Full programme


-Associazione per il Disegno Industriale. (2015). ‘Adi Food Design Manifesto', Commissione Tematica ADI Food Design, 8–9. 
-Bassi, A. (2015). Food Design in Italia. Progetto e comunicazione del prodotto alimentare Electa Architettura, Milano. 
- Bordewijk, M., & Schifferstein, H. N. J. (2019). ‘The specifics of food design: Insights from professional design practice’. In: International Journal of Food Design, 4(2), 101–138. 
 - Bottiglieri, M., Pettenati, G., & Toldo, A. (2017). Turin Food Policy Buone pratiche e prospettive, FrancoAngeli, Milano. 
- Buchanan, R. (1992). ‘Wicked Problems in Design Thinking’. In: Design Issues, 8 (2) pp. 5-21. 
- Campagnaro, C., Ceraolo, S. (2022). Ai margini. Un'antologia di social design, PRIMP, Torino.  
- Campagnaro, C., Curtabbi, G., & Passaro, R. (2023). ‘Alimenta: a design-led systemic action against homelessness-related food poverty’. In: IJFD. (in pubblicazione) 
- Celaschi, F., Deserti, A., (2007). Design e Innovazione. Strumenti e pratiche per la ricerca applicata, Carocci, Roma. 
- Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2019). Cities and circular economy for food. 
- Fassio, F., & Tecco, N. (2019). Circular Economy for Food. Materia, energia e conoscenza in circolo, Edizioni Ambiente, Milano.  
- Jones, P.H. & G.K. Van Patter (2009). ‘Design 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0: The rise of visual sensemaking’, NextDesign Leadership Institute. 
 - Manzini, E. (2008). Collaborative organisations and enabling solutions. Social innovation and design for sustainability, Edizioni Polidesign, Milano.
- Papanek, V. (1971). Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change, Pantheon Books, New York. 
- Passaro, R., Campagnaro, C., & Curtabbi, G. (2021). Design against Food Poverty. In: Revista Latinoamericana de Food Design, 1(2), 427–451. 
 - Stummerer, S., & Hablesreiter, M. (2010). Food Design XL, Springer Verlag, Vienna. 
- Tromp, N., & Vial, S. (2022). ‘Five components of social design: A unified framework to support research and practice’. In: Design Journal, 0(0), 1–19. 
 - Tonkinwise, C. (2015). ‘Is Social Design a Thing?’ 
- Wrigley, C., & Ramsey, R. (2016). ‘Emotional food design: From designing food products to designing food systems’. In: International Journal of Food Design, 1(1), 11–28.
- Zampollo, F. (2016). ‘Welcome to food design’. In: International Journal of Food Design, 1(1), 3–10.
- De Sardan, J-P. O. (2009). “La politica del campo. Sulla produzione di dati in antropologia”. In: F. Cappelletto (ed.), Vivere l’etnografia, SEID Editori, Firenze. 
- Grasseni, C. (2013). ‘La patrimonializzazione del cibo. Prospettive critiche e convergenze “sul campo”’. In: Luigi M. Lombardi Satriani (ed.), VOCI, 10 (1), 2013, Pellegrini Editore, Cosenza. 
- Koensler, A., & Meloni, P. (2019). Antropologia dell’alimentazione. Produzione, consumo, movimenti sociali, Carocci Editore, Roma. 
- Lai, F. (2017). Antropologia del cibo nella fiction. Rappresentazioni del cibo nelle narrazioni cinematografiche e televisive, Pàtron Editore, Bologna. 
- Semi, G. (2010). L’osservazione partecipante. Una guida pratica, Il mulino, Bologna. 
- Ciribini G. (1984). Tecnologia e progetto, Celid, Torino. 
- Munari B. (1985). Da cosa nasce cosa. Appunti per una metodologia progettuale, Laterza, Bari. 
- De Bono N. (1997). Il pensiero laterale, BUR Rizzoli, Milano. 
 - Burdek B. E. (2008). Design, Storia, teoria e prassi del disegno industriale, Gangemi, Napoli. 
- Trabucco F. (2015). Design, Bollati Boringhieri, Torino. 
- Floridi L. (2017). La quarta rivoluzione. Come l'infosfera sta trasformando il mondo, Raffaello Cortina Editore, Milano. 

Teaching methods

Each Laboratory’s teaching module provides disciplinary knowledge during classroom lessons and other seminar moments.

In addition, according to the project topics, which vary every year and are promoted in collaboration with local economic and social agencies, students face the design process and define product design proposals thanks to the contributions of all the Laboratory’s disciplines. In this applied and practical framework, the Laboratory benefits from the inputs of the three disciplines, which also translates into moments of joint assessment of the exercises, promoting an interdisciplinary reading of the design process, and soliciting attention to the different dimensions of the project.

Assessment methods and criteria

Examination modalities: Written test (in the classroom); Compulsory oral test; Graphic work produced in groups; Design work produced in groups.

The Laboratory requires assiduous attendance. The final evaluation will be expressed with a single mark for the Laboratory exam. It will consist of the weighted average of the scores of the three teachings that compose the Laboratory.

The didactic activities will be monitored through subject-specific and seminar evaluations.

The tests, in addition to verifying methodological, design and critical skills and the assimilation of the topics covered, aim to assess the awareness of the student.

Abilities such as: context analysis and interpretation; decision-making skills; working collaboratively with diverse disciplinary expertise; understanding and managing sensory relationships between mind and artifacts; and recognizing and using themes and tools of qualitative social research will be evaluated.

The ability to clearly and effectively present and discuss the choices made and projects developed is considered a relevant element of the training that the laboratory promotes among students, as an indispensable component in the processes that attend the definition and implementation of complex project programs.

The exercises (Project Work) are carried out by students divided into groups.

The grade for each student will be individual and expressed by a single grade whose weighted average of grades of individual teachings and will be defined as follows:

Public Interest Design (50% of final lab grade)

Applied Anthropology for Design (25% of the final lab grade)

Technological Design Culture (25% of the final lab grade)

Individual participation in lectures, project works and presentations will also be evaluated. The final laboratory grade, which is individual for each student, will be assigned at the end of the oral examination of the teaching of Public Interest Design, which can be sustained after obtaining the grades, at least sufficient (18/30) of Applied Anthropology for Design and Technological Design Culture.

Grades for all teachings and the overall grade for the lab are given in thirtieths. A minimum grade of 18/30 is required for each of the teachings. The maximum grade is 30 cum laude.

Other information