Maya Kagawa Marcello Pinzero

Architects Assistants of Prof. C. Soddu and E. Colabella

Generative Design Lab, Politecnico di Milano University, Italy





The pur pose of our communication is to show, through our experience of former student and collaborators of Prof,C.Soddu and prof.E.Colabella, a didactic approach recognizable as generative approach . This approach has been and still is experiemented by C.Soddu and E.Colabella in the GenLab. Through the works of this laboratory we have choosen some aspects that emphasize both the multiplicity of the project themes and the recognizability of eery single student with a common trace of generative design teaching approach.

In order to express the recognizability of a same methodological structure which is strongly subjective, we have taken as references , some works of thesis and some works realised by students from the first year of Industrial Design.


The elements we have defined as strongly recognizale are:

a-      a strong component of subjectivity

b-     a organizing structure (paradigms are involved)

c-      multiplicity of the final possible design of a project

d-     evolution and dynamicity of the whole structure.





We have choosen some examples from thesis and students'work. The design experiment were always different every year and this particularity will emphasize the recognizability of the same methodological structure.The works we shall present could be a recognizable object without a correspondiong function, an object for the traveller, a"luogo del sogno", real and utopic, a umbrella...In all the choosen examples, there's a strong identity of each designer. It is the same recognizability of all the work of Prof.Soddu. This characteristic is a common approach in which there's an important fact being considered: the subjectivity involved. The generative aproach needs the construction, that is to be fully conscious of your own design identity. The students through the GenLab as we did too, start our experimentation with the objectives of the project. The starting point is to define the objectives or qualities which are part of the individual itself. The adjectives are not uniques but some of the possible ones we'd like to be recognized for. The students start to choose three attributes, which are expresssed through the construction of personal references from our own immaginary world, implying all the experience or elements to identify yourself. The students have picked up through their own research, elements such as music, poetry, letterature, images, photography, and constructed in progress their own identity by specifying the conections between the references and the qualities they have predefined. The same start is always considered and we can say fron our own experience of our thesis, that it is a really free and creative part of the work, that cannot be ever constructed the same way by two individuals. In this first approach, we are conscious of the things we like, that means choosing things and try to let become our designer's identity.


The next step is to construct a codex of rules or procedures, which can transform something into another, more responding to the quality one has decided. In the work of the students, for example, every single person has defined the rules, in order to increase and define how to better recognize the qualities. This is a creative part of the designer, who has to specify different ways to satisfy his own criteria.


The next important step is the controlling structure of the rules'codex that has been defined. In order to organize the project as a possible composition or realization, the rules have to have a possible combination. This combination can be multiple because one can use any element that inspires him or makes him have an intuition of a possible structure of organization. Here you have defined a paradigmatic structure,and never a closed system. The generative approach here allows every single designer to draw possible schemes in which the rules will combine or not, and if the scheme doesn't respond to his idea, then he will have to find other rules or paradigms or combine new paradigms and this is how the process will never be a closed system.


The last aspect of this approach we want to underline is the communication used by Prof.C.Soddu and Prof.E.Colabella to show all their experience which is the Internet. GenLab is totally accessible trough the net which involves all the students to be aware of this communication. All the students' work is always on line and in progress. This is an important way to exchange informations and the stratification of all the references in this site is the essence of the generative approach itself. Through all the works of individuals, a collective site of recognizability of the generative approach, together with all the experience and work of years of prof.Soddu and prof.Colabella.

It is definitely impossible to "copy" someone's work in the sense nobody can always interpretate the same way the same attributes or words. Even the same song can definitely not be sang in the same way, even by the same singer.




figure 1: IDENTITY (S. Ambanelli Student 1 Year )





figure 2: IDENTITY (A. Busseni Student 1 Year)



figure 3: IDENTITY (L. Bellolli Student)



figure 4: IDENTITY and PARADIGM (T. Shimura Student)







figure 6: DEFINITION OF THE CHOOSEN ATTRIBUTES (M.Candeloro - student)




figure 7: DEFINITION OF THE CHOOSEN ATTRIBUTES (D.Convertini - student)




figure 8: POSSIBLE RULES AND FIRST EXPERIMENT (M.Candeloro - student)



figure 9: CHOOSEN FORMALIZATION (M.Candeloro - student)








figure 10: PARADIGM ORGANISING EVENTS (F.Maestranzi student)



figure 11: PARADIGM ORGANISING AN OBJECT (M.Kagawa thesis)







( F.G.VEDANI student)





(M.Pinzero thesis)


figure 17: INDEX OF THE STRUCTURE IN WEB (F:Valade- student



figure18: : INDEX OF THE STRUCTURE IN WEB (E.Bianchi - student)