Nantes Design Factory

An original course offered by Université de Nantes and Nantes School of Design, to respond to a transition issue driven by a company, from the idea to the prototype

Nantes Design Factory is an interdisciplinary course inspired by Aalto University in Finland. It aims to design and prototype products and services to respond to issues of transitions – societal, environmental, industrial – encountered by private and public stakeholders.


A pilot edition was launched in september 2020 by West Creative Industries, with University de Nantes and Nantes School of Design. It is supported by the Pays de la Loire region and Nantes Métropole.


“Learning by doing”

This course brings closer the academic and economic worlds by creating an intermediary place in which students work on professional projects in an operational and autonomous manner. It combines R&D, engineering, design and humanities.


The “Design Factory” promotes learning by doing: students create, design, prototype, test and adjust, until they obtain a prototype of product and / or service. To do this, they are welcomed in an emblematic place of innovation, Halle 6 Ouest, and have at their disposal cutting-edge tools and expert skills (IT, design, computer-aided design, 3D printing, electronic workshops and carpentry. , etc.).


The synergy of skills makes it possible to respond to complex and multidimensional challenges: technical challenges, user-centric design and quality of user experience, economic model, etc. For the partners, this is an opportunity to better project themselves into what their products and services of tomorrow could be.



A pilot edition to innovate in events making

For its first edition, Nantes Design Factory is joining forces with Nantes Congress Center through two innovation projects:

  • Designing a showroom to promote and test the services offered by the Congress Center to its customers ;
  • Digitizing the visitor journey for a better user experience within the venue.

Nantes Congress Center is a venue for hosting and producing professional and cultural events. It has been one of the major convention centers in France for more than 25 years, receives national and international events and contributes to the influence, attractiveness and development of the territory.


© LisaRlld

Two multidisciplinary student teams were formed to respond respectively to one of the two issues of the Congress CEnter, from September 2020 to February 2021. The students come from three courses:

  • Master in “Digital Cultures” from Polytech’Nantes (University of Nantes), which takes place at Halle 6 Ouest,
  • Engineer diploma in computer science from Polytech’Nantes (University of Nantes), 5th year,
  • Master cycle (MDes) Media Design from the Nantes Atlantic Design School.

In situ experimentation

Nantes Design Factory was launched on September 29, 2020. After a morning presentation and networking workshops, the students benefited from a behind-the-scenes discovery tour of the Congress Center. From then on, they met every Tuesday, at Halle 6 Ouest, in autonomous groups or in workshops. They worked in an interdisciplinary manner, in project mode, monitored by their teachers and by experts according to the needs of the projects, in regular interaction with the representatives of the Congress Center. The final restitution, on February 2, 2021, included a real-life experiment.






Nantes Design Factory is co-organized by Université de Nantes, Polytech’Nantes and Nantes School of Design as part of the West Creative Industries regional program. Among its missions, WCI supports the setting up of new interdisciplinary training courses and pursues an international outreach strategy through 5 partnerships including Aalto University in Helsinki. The “Design Factory” is a concept supported by Aalto University since 2008 but also an international network of 29 partners that West Creative Industries wishes to join.