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Design Lab

Transforming the future through design-led research
Our research explores the role of design for speculating on the future, and to envision, define and inform the interactions and experiences between people and digital and emerging technologies.

Through making and imagining new forms of existence we critically rethink objects, systems and processes that shape human experience and life on the planet. We combine methods and approaches from the social sciences, humanities, science, engineering and the arts to explore and evaluate ideas, prototypes, new materials and experiences through the lens of design.

We collaborate across disciplines and with external partners, including industry, not-for-profit, government and community groups and organisations. Our areas of research span interaction design, design innovation, co-design, computational creativity, designing for health and well-being, digital place-making, human-computer interaction, human-robot interaction, smart cities and urban data science.

The group’s expertise contributes to the following Labs:

Affective Interactions Lab

Designing affective interactions aims to enrich our experiences with everyday technologies that are increasingly ubiquitous. Access to personal devices is on the rise, with the premise of enabling individuals to grow in many aspects of their lives, both personal (e.g. wellbeing) and professional (e.g. work, education, volunteering). This necessitates research on how these technologies can provide the desired benefits.

Affective Interactions Lab builds upon a body of research in experience design combined with psychology of wellbeing to examine issues relevant to user motivation, opportunities for reflection and gaining new skills, and fairness of access. We aim to create knowledge about methods, tools and design opportunities to support user engagement with technologies through affect, core to human experiences, emotions and behaviours. Emerging technologies (e.g. virtual reality), information (e.g. data visualisation) and materials (e.g. biodesign) are key to our research. Our vision is to advance knowledge on new ways of supporting everyday life through affective experiences embedded in human-technology interactions.

Lab Coordinator: Dr Naseem Ahmadpour

Designing with AI Lab

Artificial Intelligence has already reshaped the design world, from fashion to architecture to digital products. The Designing with AI Lab (DWAIL) explores three ways that intelligent systems can impact design: AI as a design material, AI in design processes, and AI as design collaborators.

Research into designing with AI-as-material explores how AI can be embedded into objects and services to provide new kinds of experiences. Research into designing with AI-as-processes explores new tools and workflows for design practice. Research into designing with AI-as-collaborator is the most far-reaching, asking what the future of design would look like if machines could be capable partners in creative problem solving.

Lab Coordinator: Dr Kazjon Grace

Urban Interfaces Lab

The Urban Interfaces Lab investigates the application of emerging technologies in cities. It draws on knowledge, methodologies and theories from the field of interaction design, interrogating speculative futures through design. The work in the lab intersects with other academic and professional fields, by demonstrating the application of urban interfaces and their impact in domains such as smart cities, experience design, urban health, digital placemaking and community engagement. Research in the lab is underpinned by human-centred design, but also challenges the notion of human-centredness by exploring new approaches that consider ecological systems in the design of urban interfaces.

Our researchers


  • Oliver Weidlich