Strategic area: Interplay

Department of Design

Strategic area: Interplay

Illustration of people figures in different patterns

Research in the strategic area Interplay ("Samspill") argue for “a relational turn” within the design discipline, meaning that a well-designed service facilitates and aims at situations in which meetings between people and services contribute to people functioning in the best possible way given their context and situation.

Common for relational approaches is that they look for new alternatives to conceptualize, by working increasingly open-ended, mobile, networked, context-specific and actor-centred.

Research activity

About the strategic area Interplay

About the strategic area Interplay

Samspill is a Norwegian term which is related to the English words interaction and interplay.

A well developed interplay is a goal for human relations in the design process. In interplay, things are also created on the fly and in the moment, and the role of the designer in complex situations can be compared with the kind of interaction that happens in music.

In what ways are interplay important?

Interplay is based on tacit, experience-based knowledge, but also on explicit and conscious theories and methods. Interplay is very present in co-design, where many can play lead during the process, and where the designers can work on translating the voices of the participants into design interventions. 

The concept of interplay challenges the designers not only to design iteratively step by step, but also to analytically and intuitively use their skills, competences and knowledge while simultaneously being aware of, and sensitive to, the contributions and roles of other people and stakeholders.

As designers, we also need to be aware of our physical surroundings, the nature and environment that our efforts are part of.

Where do we focus on interplay?

The focus on interplay is present within

  • co-design
  • service design
  • design anthropology
  • system oriented design
  • human centered design
  • universal design
  • storytelling
  • and other fields taught by us.

Handling complexity

We are also concerned with developing new approaches to design to tackle complexity and wicked problems. Thus we are consequently concerned with experimentation, new forms of prototyping and new and cross-disciplinary methods in our teaching.

The notion of interplay urges us to be open towards other disciplines outside our own, but at the same time conscious and active in defining our own role and goal as designers.

Research projects

Research projects

EU projects

Other projects

Resarch applications pending

  • Rethinking Education (ERASMUS-EDU PEX TEACH ACA)
  • Alliances for Future European Creative Tourism (ERASMUS-EDU-2022-PI-ALL-INNO: AFFECT)
  • ADHIN, EU​