The Interaction Design Institute in Ivrea, near Milan, opened to students on Monday as a teaching faculty to focus on the ways people interact with communications and computers.
It will run two-year diploma courses in English for postgraduate designers.
The institute’s director is Gillian Crampton Smith, who left the Royal College of Art’s Computer Related Design department last December to set up the organisation (DW 13 October 2000).
‘Interaction design is the successor to industrial design,’ says an institute spokesman. ‘What industrial design was to the machine age, interaction design is to the technology age. We focus on people and what they want from design, rather than building technology first and thinking about people second.’
The spokesman says the course offers the first fully comprehensive training in the discipline in the world. The spokesman adds, ‘We aim to combine business and cultural understanding. We look at what technologies might offer people and consider the quality of their experiences interacting with them.’
Olivetti and Telecom Italia have provided a budget of £22m (36m Euros). The institute is housed in a former 1950s Olivetti research centre, originally designed by Eduardo Vittoria.
The interior was redesigned by Milan-based Sottsass Associati architect Marco Zanini.