Design culture through mobile technology and games

Mauro Ceconello, Italy , Davide Spallazzo, Italy

The design skill and design as a discipline have always found various applications in the field of museums and cultural institutions at large (just think of the important role of exhibit or graphic design). Sometimes design itself is the cultural asset to be shown and valorised in design museum and exhibitions. Other times design is considered a strategic tool able to think of the entire visitor experience keeping the user and his needs in the spotlights (Simon, 2010).

We are convinced that mobile technology for cultural heritage on one side and design on the other, may obtain mutual benefits from their synergy and the paper describes some experiences in this direction.

In this article indeed we describe the results of some projects and didactic activities aimed at valorising design through mobile technologies, at building up strategies and frameworks (Spallazzo, 2012) to design mobile experiences and at designing and teaching how to create mobile urban games.

The first project we describe, Looking for Achille Castiglioni (Spallazzo, Ceconello, & Lenz, 2011), dates back to 2011 and it’s a first attempt to employ mobile devices to let visitors discover the great impact Achille Castiglioni, a master of Italian design, had on Milan and its culture.

We discuss also the teaching strategy and the results of the course AR&ME – Augmented Reality and Mobile Experience – that we activated at the School of Design of Politecnico di Milano and that teaches students how to employ design skills and tools to make mobile cultural experiences (Ceconello, 2012). About 150 students in two years have learnt to design mobile urban games aimed at valorising the design culture in Milan, learning not only the basics of mobile technology and its applications in the cultural field but also gathering information on the subject they deal.

At last we describe two mobile urban games D.Hunt and D.Learn we are developing for the Design Department of Politecnico di Milano and aimed at introducing high school students in the world of design.

D.Hunt – Design Hunt – is an amusing treasure hunt in search of the missing Zizì monkey, the renowned foam rubber toy, designed by Bruno Munari in 1953, that will bring players on the traces of famous Italian design products.

D.Learn is a competitive role playing game in which teams of young students play the role of designers who compete to achieve the highest score and win the renowned design award, the Compasso d’Oro (Golden Compasses).

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