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Foreword

Running L’École de design Nantes Atlantique for ten years and being elected President of the Cumulus association gave me the opportunity to observe how the broad public’s vision of design has evolved. In the past, design was seen as little more than a creative process applied to a certain type of functional objects and limited to very precise fields of activity, such as furniture, tableware, cars and so on. In France, design used to be considered as something futile, a trifle for the use of an intellectual and aesthetics-literate elite only. Nowadays design has risen to the rank of a strategic discipline in the service of corporate development, a management tool likely to give meaning to the world of tomorrow.
Education institutions have adjusted to and sometimes even anticipated this change. L’École de design Nantes Atlantique has turned into a management school training students in “creative project management.” The fruitful effects of partnerships with companies have now been acknowledged. We now strive to have students step into professional life, whereas in the past we only shaped them to become technician-like designers.
One of the main aims of design is to cooperate with other disciplines in order to think collectively about tomorrow’s world. Designers must reflect upon what we wish to pass on to our children and must come up with sustainable and livable solutions. Design education is extremely exciting because it is rooted in a project-oriented transversal approach to a whole array of subjects. It brings together major humanistic theories, technology, economics, creation-oriented disciplines… It breathes new life into the creed of major figures of the Enlightenment whose beliefs were later divided into different schools of thought by higher education institutions – especially in France – as centuries and industrial or economic revolutions went by.
This blog is a collection of thoughts, texts and lectures written and given during my tenure as Executive Director of a design institution.

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