The complexity of major challenges surrounding health, security, mobility, sustainability, and democracy demands a long-term shared research effort that crosses disciplinary boundaries. The design as an ‘interdisciplinary and integrative discipline’ can empower the network between and across disciplines and help in making information transparent. The design also facilitates the cross-disciplinary discourse itself through innovative communication methods, and as a ‘third discipline’ mediates across humanics.
Paolo Ciuccarelli is a professor of Design and the founding director of the Center for Design at Northeastern University. He has been appointed recently and now, he will try to bridge disciplines to make information transparent and actionable. “I don’t trust numbers anymore”, Ciuccarelli says.
\The Center for Design is a space, where there is a congregation of professors from various departments, and an air of ambiguity to the fields Ciuccarelli now specialises in: information design, and its umbrella term “communication design.” He believes that, in order to work as they should, both information and architectural plans must relate to the context for which they’re created. This is because, without design, which is intended to communicate, information can be visually appealing but will fail to trigger action. However, without context, data can do more than fall on deaf ears, creating potentially harmful misconceptions. This is why Ciuccarelli finds himself here: in a digital, data-centric field, one full of smoke and mirrors, which would love an architect’s mind.
Initially, contextualising data in relation to its source can improve this field. The current lack of emphasis on this confounds Ciuccarelli. Recently, he led the Communication Design program at Politecnico di Milano in Italy, where he worked for 20 years, across disciplines, engaging in dialogue all the while. His efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Elizabeth Hudson, dean of the College of Arts, Media and Design says, “For 20 years, he’s been at the forefront internationally of creating new approaches and forms of design and communication that change the way we understand information and its impacts. We are incredibly excited to have him leading the new Center for Design”.
Shahjadi Jemim Rahman