Towards an Ecological Turn in Design

10 May 2023, 15:00 – 18:00  |  Online Talk Event
(This talk will be held in English)

Designing a regenerative future requires designers to adopt radically new ways of thinking, approaches and methods that integrate the consideration of sustainable, ecological and social aspects and include both local and global communities, ecosystems and planetary boundaries. Transformative change must go hand in hand with questioning existing paradigms, such as the dualistic human-nature relationship or our anthropocentric material culture. In the design conversation “Towards an Ecological Turn in Design”, renowned experts on sustainable and transformative design Usman Haque (Umbrellium), Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino (UK Design Council), Raphael Stermann (Haleon) and Chris Grantham (Regenovate) will present their views and together with Prof. Oliver Szasz discuss questions such as: What are the challenges for designers in the context of regenerative design? How can systemic approaches such as “living-systems-centred thinking” or “life-centred design” be practically integrated into design processes? Is it possible to involve non-human stakeholders in co-creation processes?

View recording from 10 May 2023 - Part 1

View recording from 10 May 2023 - Part 2

Speakers and Agenda

15:00 – 15:15 / Prof. Oliver Szasz – Welcome and Introduction
15:15 – 15:45 / Usman Haque – Umbrellium, UK
15:45 – 16:15 / Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino – UK Design Council
16:15 – 16:30 / Coffee Break
16:30 – 17:00 / Raphael Stermann – Haleon, Germany
17:00 – 17:30 / Chris Grantham – Regenovate, UK
17:30 – 18:00 / Panel Discussion


Usman Haque, trained as an architect, is founder and creative director of Umbrellium, a London-based design & build studio dedicated to transforming urban environments. His work embraces many disciplines, including design, architecture, the internet of things, urban community infrastructure, and large-scale public art/performance. He was appointed a Design Council Ambassador in 2021 and to the Mayor of London’s Data for London Advisory Board in 2022. He taught at the Bartlett School of Architecture with Prof Stephen Gage in the Interactive Architecture Workshop (until 2005); and in 2015/2016 led RC12 Urban Design cluster, “Participatory systems for networked urban environments” with Adam Greenfield. Usman received the 2008 Design of the Year Award (interactive) from the Design Museum, UK; a 2009 World Technology Award (art); the Japan Media Arts Festival Excellence prize (2004) and the Asia Digital Art Award Grand Prize (2005). His presentation: “Wild Cities – why reinforcing relationships between humans, non-humans, and the urban fabric are important to creating a fairer future”.

> Umbrellium

> Haque


Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino is a Londonbased author, consultant and entrepreneur who works across climate change, ethics and the internet of things. She is the author of ‘Creating a Culture of Innovation’ (2020) and ‘Smarter Homes: how technology will change your home life’ (2018). Alexandra is currently building the Low Carbon Design Institute, exploring how creative professionals integrate climate change knowledge in their practice.

> Design Council

> The Low Carbon Institute

Raphael Stermann - Haleon, Culturesphere

Raphael Stermann is Sustainable Innovation Lead at Haleon in DACH, a world-leading consumer health company. Previously a leading member of Steelcase’s global sustainability team, Raphael has gained valuable experiences over the last 12 years in fields such as product ecodesign, CE business models, purpose-led strategies, as well as design thinking and FEI processes. In close collaboration with strategy, innovation and brand teams, Raphael acts as a catalyst to inspire and empower people to unlock human- and planet-centric business opportunities. His presentation: “Towards an Ecological Turn in the corporate innovation culture: first-hand reflections”

> Haleon

Chris Grantham, Regenovate, Culturesphere

Chris Grantham is co-founder of Regenovate. With regeneration as their innovation lens, they unlock growth opportunities for people and their organisations using design, living system principles and regenerative economics. Before founding Regenovate Chris was formerly Circular Economy Executive Director at IDEO, where he led IDEO’s consultancy business in the circular economy and worked with organisations like, H&M, IKEA, VF Corps, Solvay, SAP and Danone on their circular economy strategy, organisational transformation and product innovation. As well as working with individual companies, Chris’s work has involved adapting IDEO’s collaborative design methodology (CoLab) for circular economy innovation across industry value chains and the development of a close partnership with The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, including creating The Circular Design Guide which has been used by over half a million users in over 150 countries. His major focus has been on evolving the intuitions and instincts of designers in pursuit of regeneration and shared value creation. His presentation: “Designing Regeneratively”

> Regenovate


This talk event is complemented by a sensory dimension in form of the physical exhibition “Awaré: Object of Human-Nature Dialogue”. For more information, please click the button below.

Exhibition Information
Awaré, Geological Textilies, Sylvia Eustache Rools, Jerome Pereira, Ingrid Rügemer, Culturesphere Gallery

This talk event is sponsored by Bayern Design and Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wirtschaft, Landesentwicklung und Energie, and supported by Macromedia University of Applied Sciences.

Bayern Design, Bayerisches Staatsministerium, Culturesphere, Macromedia University