Design for (in) Extreme conditions: A Case Study of for Speculative Scenario Planning and Design-thinking Methodology in the Desert


Extremity and urgency have become the typifying living conditions for part of the world population. While desertification is yet to threaten the everyday of urban areas, extreme weather events such as wildfires and floods are now part of the yearly seasonal cycle; therefore, there is an urgent need for a different approach to live with and possibly confront these extremities. For five years Bezalel’s students ventures to the Israeli desert for an annual 4-days seminar, entitled ‘extreme conditions.’ The Arava desert, with its extreme desert climate, is the locus we visit and the heart of the activity. Caried out in collaboration with Israeli R&D agriculture centers, we bring together a group of scientists, farmers and community leaders together with designers from varied backgrounds. During the seminar, the teams define and deal with real-world challenges and develop innovative and sustainable solutions for life in extreme conditions. We developed a unique methodology combining speculative design with design thinking methods to build alternative scenarios in order to address societal and environmental problems. Holding the seminar in the isolated desert gives the teams a better understanding of the field and its conditions and specific circumstances. The intensity of the seminar also enables a deeper empathy for the users and their needs and motivates the designers to work on experimental and implementable projects in a very short time. This paper formulates the experiment we held five times in extreme conditions in the Israeli desert, demonstrating the most urgent and critical challenges of the world today.


Roee Bigger
Lecturer, Master Program in Industrial Design, Bezalel, Art and Design Academy, Israel

Romi Mikulinsky
Head, Master of Design (MDes) Program in Industrial Design, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Israel


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design


Extreme, Conditions, Design, Thinking, Speculative, Desertification

Digital Media

This presenter hasn’t added media.
Request media and follow this presentation.