Paola Trapani

Paola Trapani is Associate Professor of Design and Director of the Master in Product/Service System Design at the College of Design and Innovation at Tongji University in Shanghai. Previously, she has been working in Italy, New Zealand, and California not only in academia but also as an industry professional. Her clients include Teatro alla Scala di Milano, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Triennale di Milano, Costa Crociere, and IGPDecaux.


Paola has a MA in Architecture and a Ph.D. in Design both from the Politecnico di Milano, Italy.


Her recent research interest focuses on Transition Design and in particular on the utility of Service and Strategic Design for people undergoing major disruptive transitions in life. Today's reality is so complex that the environment and interactions regularity and predictability are continually challenged and questioned.


The time of a major transition can be chaotic, turbulent, and fluid because the old reference points in many aspects of daily life have collapsed and new ones are not available yet. These sorts of situations require integrated systems of services and products specially designed for the interim stage.


Professional designers can lead a group of people in similar conditions to co-create and experiment new desirable life scenarios. However, the first creative attempts usually need to unfold within a ring-fenced space that shields the transformation from the mainstream environment acting as an “incubation room” for radical novelties to sprout.


Paola is investigating how PSSD methods and tools can be of use to

·  Make sense of the transition in progress,

·  Connect to peers who are enduring a similar passage,

·  Co-create and prototype adaptable, temporary product/service systems that can mitigate the fragmentation during the in-between condition.


Core competence:

·  Co-design, service design, strategic design, transition design.

·  Narrative psychology.


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College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University