(Publication) Design, meaning making and constructive fixation : Conceptualizing semiotic conditions to the process of designing.

(Publication) Design, meaning making and constructive fixation : Conceptualizing semiotic conditions to the process of designing.

Jutant, Camille, Gentes, Annie, Béjean, Mathias, & Mivielle, Cédric. (2013). Design, meaning making and constructive fixation : Conceptualizing semiotic conditions to the process of designing (p. 3509‑3519). Presented at IASDR, Tokyo, Japon.
(Download Link)
More info: http://www.iasdr2013.jp/


Current debates in design question the effects of “fixation.” On the one hand, to be creative, designers should avoid fixing the meaning of objects or proposals, On the other hand, positive effects of fixation have also been observed in various design practices. For instance, “early
fixation” or “early crystallization” have been conceptualized as ways that significantly help starting the design work without limiting its creative potential. To understand these contrasting positions, we take a semiotic perspective on the phenomenon of fixation. Peirce’s triadic model of sign (representamen, object, interpretant), defines meaning making as an infinite process through the “interpretant” based on personal and social experience. Fixation is therefore a basic semiotic condition through which human beings make sense of the world. As pointed by Peirce, the “final” interpretant is the way by which we can actually communicate meaning to further expand it. Following on this model and the Peircean categories (firstness, secondness, thirdness) we identify three different ways in design that structure how meaning making can be stabilized, e.g.: the feeling of some potential (firstness); the combination of events or things (secondness); the establishment of a belief, habit or law (thirdness).


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(Publication) The CO-SI Card method: how to refine and validate concepts through a scenario generator framework.

(Publication) The CO-SI Card method: how to refine and validate concepts through a scenario generator framework.

Mivielle, Cédric, Mauduit, Maxence, & Gentes, Annie. (2013). The CO-SI Card method: how to refine and validate concepts through a scenario generator framework (p. 4477‑4488). Presented at IASDR, Tokyo, Japon.
(Download Link)
More info: http://www.iasdr2013.jp/


This paper describes a design method named “CO-SI Card” that was created and used in a collaborative project with a multidisciplinary team for the design of crossmedia services. This method allows the creation of a tangible and visual tool that generates intermediate representations of situations of communication. These representations optimize the collaboration between members in engaging and playful ways. The purpose of this method is to refine and validate concept(s) by confronting them to random communication scenarios built with the cards but also to explore the communicational potential of the project. We argue first that it is necessary to create tools that allow collaborative team to both diverge and converge in the design process. Then we consider how creating intermediary objects that support a semiotic system where transformations can be operated helps this divergent/convergent process. We then present the method that the team developed – communication situations cards stack – that is a scenario generator framework and how to replicate it. Third, we analyze the case of a project in service design where this method was implemented. Finally, we discuss possible improvements and limitations.


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Justė Pečiulytė, Research associate

2014-09-12 16.53.20

Justė – Research associate


Justė Pečiulytė is a research affiliated to the Codesign Lab at Telecom ParisTech since 2014. Justé graduated from Université Paris 1 La Sorbonne in with a MA “Design, Media, Technology” focusing on Design and Environments.


My research concerns how practitioners in diverse disciplines modify the living environment through inventive materials, spatial devices, and installations. More precisely, I investigate the concern of contemporary design for atmospheric factors and the materials those factors interact with. For example, what does it mean for the fields of design and architecture to deal with commonly non-desirable entities like particulate matters, moisture or bisphenol A? How does this challenge the meaning of practice such as “interior design”? This has led me to research along the notion of atmosphere, notably it’s conceptual and historical usage in design production. In that respect, I explore how new media and materials might help us read and apprehend our surroundings, thus shaping perceptible and heterogeneous spatial experiences.

(Conference Workshop) Design, Art and Symbolic Enigmas: Uncanny artefacts.

(Conference Workshop) Design, Art and Symbolic Enigmas: Uncanny artefacts.

Mollon, M. (2014). Design, Art and Symbolic Enigmas: Uncanny artefacts. In A. Gentes (Ed.), (pp. 1–80). Presented at the 7th SIG Design Theory, Mines Paristech, Paris (27- 28th Jan.).
More info: Mines Paristech Program
Presentation PDF


Presenting Max’s PhD design space, discussing and debating it with workshop participants. Supervised by Annie Gentès. Given at 7th SIG Design Theory, Mines Paristech (Paris).

EnsadLab Seminar


This course is given to EnsadLab/ Sociable Media (2013-14)

List of talks:

  • Writing papers
  • Rhetoric & paper analysis
  • Introduction to qualitative methodologies
  • Analysis of Wendy’s papers
  • Methods for analysing artefacts
  • Using methods

SLideshare to be uploaded soon
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(Publication) The Rhetoric of Design for Debate: triggering conversation with an “uncanny enough” artefact

(Publication) The Rhetoric of Design for Debate: triggering conversation with an “uncanny enough” artefact

Mollon, M., & Gentes, A. (2014). The Rhetoric of Design for Debate: triggering conversation with an “uncanny enough” artefact (pp. 1–13). Presented at the Proceedings of the Design Research Society International Consortium (DRS), Umeå, Sweden.
(Download Link)
More info: http://www.drs2014.org/en/presentations/411/


Design exploration research refers to various interaction design research practices that explore tensions issued from the interplay of science, technology, culture and society. Most of them explicitly trigger discussions and debates in the audience, for instance “critical design”, which raised the interest of members of design research communities. However its generalization suffers from a lack of shareable methodology. This paper aims at clarifying it practically and theoretically.
We claim that these practices trigger people’s reactions using a specific narrative strategy which provoke an “uncanny feeling”. By producing “uncanny enough” artefacts that embed a subtle entanglement of familiarity and unfamiliarity, designers can elicit responses from viewers. First, a review of literature on critical design texts presents the “uncanny balance” as being a recurrent design principle for the creation of these artefacts. We then present an exemplary case study produced by one of the authors, exploring communication technology—called Dog&Bone. Using classical rhetoric, we present a theoretical overview of the project. The outcome consists of a conceptual framework based on the narrative dimension of the uncanny plus the rhetorical dimension (composed of three elements: legitimacy, emotions, argumentation). We conclude that Design is a form of communication between designers and their audience.


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Related Projects

Dog&Bone, The Empathetic Telephone

Codesign Lab at Women@the Frontiere 2013

Notre groupe était présent à l’évènement Women at the frontier organisé par Google à Paris en novembre 2013. Ci-dessous, l’image du flyer mis à disposition pour présenter le CoDesign Lab à cette occasion.

CodesignLab-Women at the frontiere

Peut-on designer les émotions ?
Comment le design tisse-t-il des liens entre passé, présent et futur ?
Est-ce que le design est politique ? Qu’est-ce que le design ludique ?
Quels sont les liens entre design et innovation ?

Le CoDesign Lab est un groupe de recherche rattaché au laboratoire Traitement et Communication de l’information (UMR 5141) du CNRS et de Télécom ParisTech. Nos recherches consistent à interroger les notions d’invention et de création des technologies de l’information et de la communication (TIC). Notre ambition est d’élaborer un modèle cognitif du design qui rende compte de la façon dont les concepteurs travaillent le sens.

L’équipe pluridisciplinaire (designers, chercheurs en communication, ingénieurs, sociologues, artistes) s’intéresse ainsi particulièrement aux processus collaboratifs, aux représentations collectives, aux usages et aux anticipations d’usages, ainsi qu’à la matérialité des démonstra- teurs, qui structurent la conception des médias, des applications, des services et des interfaces. Le « CoDesign » est une approche qui pense la convergence entre les différents acteurs qui participent à la conception des TIC en tant qu’elles sont des technologies réflexives, pas seulement des produits ou des outils. Les technologies réflexives sont bien des objets de communication qui circulent, engagent des pratiques, légitiment des usages et organisent le partage des savoirs : il faut penser leurs caractéristiques pour mieux anticiper et produire leurs évolutions.

Tiphaine, Research associate


Tiphaine Kazi-Tani – Research Associate

As a researcher, I’m currently trying to use a critical and philosophical framework to explore design as “dispositif”, but also the possibilities for design to resist hegemonic arrangements, considering that the historical role of design has always engaged its agency within apparatuses of power and knowledge.

I explore informal / non-expert practices of architecture and design (what I would call the designerly ways of mischief…), but also the ways design and design education may displace their own practice, discourse, narratives and methods to resist industrial, political and economic hegemony (…the mischievous ways of design).

Currently, my main research topics are:

– Skateboarding as a critical matrix for architecture, architectural design and urban planning
– Queer perspectives on industrial design
– “Misbehaving” and design
– The “Becoming-Minoritarian” of design
– The Pegagogies of Design




Graduated from ESAA Duperré (MFA Fashion Design & Environmental Design) and Paris 1-Sorbonne (MA Media Design Technologies), I’ve been a design educator for the past 10 years, building a more specific expertise in graphic design and architecture. In 2016-2017, I had the thrilling opportunity to be part of the curatorial team of the Biennale Internationale Design in Saint-Étienne.
When it comes to investigate design as a researcher, my favourite tools stand in the fields of critical theories, aesthetics and design history.

Camille, PhD Alumni

Camille Jutant – PhD, Alumni

Camille Jutant is Associate Professor (Maître de conférences) at ICOM, in the Information and Communication Research Team  ELICO.
She’s also head of the Master “Développement de projets artistiques et culturels internationaux” (Development of international artistic and cultural projects) at the University of Lyon 2.


Publics and cultural experiences: Publics et expériences culturelles: prescription, interpretation, adjustment

– Digital Mediation: design and evaluation of computer-based media, transformations and developments of devices, use by various audiences
– Design and Science: socio-professional issues in collaborations, semiotic analysis of productions
– Status of the investigation: history of the survey, actors reflexivity

Michael, PhD Alumni


Michael Bourgatte | Research Engineer | PostDoc Position

Digital Humanities & Visual Studies

Research Topic:

Audiovisual, Audiences, Digital Movies, Film & Video Technology, Uses, Video Annotation


I am research engineer in a PostDoc position since Sept. 2010. I worked for 3 years at Télécom ParisTech. Since Oct. 2013 I joigned the research team of the Centre Edouard Branly – Catholic University of Paris. My research focuses on recent developments that are supporting the increasing flow of videos in the digital field, particularly on Internet. I also study the use of digital technologies in the audiovisual field (annotation, mashup film, remix). I was especially involved in 3 research projects: Cinecast, Cinegift & THD.

From 2004 to 2009, I worked on Art Houses’ audiences and on the concept of value in the cultural field at the University of Avignon.

I published several papers on fields of Digital Humanities (L’écran-outil et le film-objet. MEI, 34, 2012), Visual Studies (Plaisir et manipulation d’images. Projections, 35, 2014) and Reception Studies (Looking for Non-Public. PUQ, 2012. Book prefaced by Elihu Katz and Daniel Dayan) and . I also edited a book named “Le cinéma à l’heure du numérique. Pratiques et publics” (Digital Cinema. Practices & Audiences) in 2012.

Contact & External Links:


Celluloid | Research Blog

michaelbourgatt | Twitter


Mashups Collection on Youtube