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Shifting Perspective: Informal Living Systems

Week 1
18–24 Jul 2021
Engaging with the Trouble: (Re-)Designing Complexity
Studiolow – Héloïse Charital and Ismaël Rifaï (FR)
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Shifting Perspective is a design research workshop which questions the democratic system and its flaws, especially under the radar living structures. The increasing number of people living in their cars is symptomatic of the contradiction between the promises of civic rights and the lived experience of failure. The current economic crisis, the pandemic’s impact on the labour market, the gap between minimum wage and real estate prices has intensified. How is it possible to be a citizen, exercise your right to vote, and get access to social benefits without a permanent address? How do you find a job without access to the Internet? And even more importantly, who is free to think about democracy and fight for it, when one has more urgent personal needs?

We will investigate and analyze the extent the democratic system is shaped by defined and designed values. A system which can cause a twofold exclusion: by losing their homes people also lose access to democracy. Drawing this parallel between democracy and design, Studiolow’s experimental laboratory will encourage the participants to rethink and reshape social justice through material research, anthropological readings, speculative policy making like political fiction, and assemblage process.


It is preferable for participants to have:

  • Curiosity
  • Basic understanding of design processes
  • Basic understanding of 3D software (Rhino)

Who should attend?

  • Current design/art students interested in pursuing a career in design research
  • Current design/art students interested in pursuing a master degree
  • Young professionals with an interest in social phenomena and social justice
  • Those seeking to experience research through design
  • Those interested into the social function of design

Studiolow – Héloïse Charital and Ismaël Rifaï (FR)

Studiolow is a design research studio founded by Héloïse Charital and Ismaël Rifaï based in France. Graduates from the Design Academy Eindhoven, Studiolow aims to capture what they call the semantic field of objects”.

The artist-designers are fascinated by the movement of bodies and objects. They question the phenomena of migration and displacement through a practice of assemblage, taking shapes into installations associating various media ranging from video to sculptural furniture. Their practice of research through design systems, artefacts, and technics reflects the complexity of cultural meaning incorporated in a form, a material, a texture in order to reveal broader social, political, and cultural implications.

Their works have been exhibited at the Design Museum London, Friedman Benda New York, Biennale Emergence Paris, Dutch Design Week Eindhoven, Passagen Koln and the Van Abbé Museum Eindhoven.


Studiolow – Héloïse Charital and Ismaël Rifaï (FR)