In 1995 a new programme of study “Design Education” was established at the Faculty of Engineering (LTH). In 1999, with strong financial support from the IKEA Stichting Foundation, the program was expanded from 15 to 30 places in the 5 year program and, in 2002, students were housed in the newly built design center. Ingvar Kamprad (founder of IKEA) expressed that the new industrial design programme aimed to be the bridge between aesthetics and technology.
In 2007 the programme was divided into the 3+2 years format that exists today. The Swedish three-year Bachelor’s Programme yields a Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Design, after which students can continue their studies by applying to the Master’s Programme. The two-year, international Master’s Programme would yield a Master of Fine Arts in Industrial Design.
Research studies and research
In the field of research in the area of industrial design, the Department of Design Sciences currently has one professor of industrial design, one senior lecturer and one guest senior lecturer. An artistic professor of industrial design is being sought. Six students have been accepted into the PhD programme.
The goal of research is to develop scientifically based knowledge, tools, methods and processes that can be of practical use to industrial designers in their work. In addition, research from a life cycle perspective shall provide indepth insights into the holistic development of products, as well as into the relationship between people and products’ functional and aesthetic qualities along with their symbolic value. Consumer products are an important application area for research where people’s experiences, wishes and needs are in focus. A current project in that field is “PLUS products”, products primarily targeting older users but also desirable and functional for other age groups.
Other aspects of research include design and innovation management, where (among other things) the interplay between industrial designers and small and medium sized companies is examined and developed, as well as intellectual property rights in the field of design. Industrial design at LTH is part of the national design research school, CDR, which is financed by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet).