Seizing the Real

From Global Tools to Design 3.0






global tools, creative commons, social solidarity economy


This article reflects the design community’s interest in Global Tools, a 1970’s radical movement in architecture and design, born in Italy and corresponding to a shift from design considered as a practice to a cultural movement that is able to propose new paradigms. Activists involved in making, such as Victor Papanek (1973), in a post-nuclear culture in The Whole Earth Catalog (1971), and by several actors in Aspen, Colorado in 1971, precipitated this movement to the design community. The movement questions the impact of a mass production and consumption model generating an economic, social, and environmental crisis. Global Tools initiated as a school by Ettore Sottsass and Andrea Branzi, questioning the role of the industry as part of a paradigm in which the issue was not how designers could contribute to industry, but how industry could contribute to society. In this article conceived as an interview, the research activity of institut supérieur des arts de Toulouse (isdaT) reveals a manifesto towards making in a social economic and milieutechnology new paradigm, with polemic and conceptual relationships to both Global Tools and Design 3.0.

How to Cite

Casens, P., & Bruyère, N. (2020). Seizing the Real: From Global Tools to Design 3.0. Cubic Journal, 3(3), 104–117.



Author Biographies

Philippe Casens, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

During 25 years of professional collaboration with Italian designers and architects such as Andrea Branzi, Trini Castelli, Pierluigi Cerri, and Isao Hosoe, Philippe Casens has experimented with different approaches and developed specific methodologies in the field of industrial production and its communication. His teaching experience began at Domus Academy in 1995, where he directed the master in product design, then at the School of Fine Arts in Toulouse, France, and taught history and theory of design. He then taught materials and technology at NABA in Milan, Italy, before being appointed assistant professor at the School of Design at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He teaches design experience in the design practice of MDes and Design history, structure, materials and processes of BA (Hons), product design. His research focuses on multidisciplinarity and complexity in sustainable design.

Nathalie Bruyère, Institut supérieur des arts de Toulouse

Nathalie Bruyère is a professor in the design department at the Institut Supérieur des Arts de Toulouse, where she graduated in 1993. After obtaining a master’s qualification in Domus Academy in 1994 she and Lorenz Wiegand cofounded the design agency POOL, where they design products for maximum versatility of use. In association with architect Pierre Duffau, she founded studio Duffau & Associés – Ultra Ordinaire, exploring the concept of “plug-ins” applied to architectonic structures to create an imaginary natural ambience and the boundaries between private and the public. The degree of domesticity in relation to the context space aims at the creation of an ambience developed through the demand of the people living there, instead of forcing them to adapt to an imposed environment. These city interfaces transforming the living spaces became something nonspecific, mobile, flexible and fundamentally more human.


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