The topic of the project is the proposal of a scientific international symposium of academic level on the reflection about the nature, models and cultures of research as taking shape within the boundaries of the disciplines of design, ranging from product to visual or communication design. Although design appears as a definite domain of application (being its results tangible and concrete) the basis and fundamentals of its search, research methods and meanings are far from being formally recognized. However as a conventional assumption it has been historically assumed that any design process contains factors of search. For such a reason, given the concrete nature of results to be derived from design processes, research factors are usually interpreted and mediated, flowing into the design outputs as an inherent property. The needs imposed by the evolution of contemporary society and markets urge today new forms of understanding and elaboration of design as a new form of practical scientific and intellectual work.
Three main motivations are at the base of this project topic: 1- The disciplines of design (mainly in the acceptation of industrial design) are facing a phase of active elaboration, where crucial, still unresolved disciplinary questions tend now to be approached from the angle of research; 2- Market is expressing a demand of design research and a demand of design researchers which is fluid and undefined although remarquable; 3- Programmes under development at advanced education levels - master and PhD in design - are facing the need to recognize the nature of design research so to coherently articulate the formative programmes for such a profile of researchers. The variety of orientations and experiences that are at present from the European and extra European debate about the topic are a challenge for a scientific symposium aspiring to offer to such an emergence not a series of status reports but the common ground - not necessarily a unit of ideas, rather a shared focus - for a culture of design research.