Systems Oriented Design

The designerly way to work with systems

The main mission of Systems Oriented Design is to build the designers own interpretation and implementation of systems thinking so that systems thinking can fully benefit from design thinking and practice and so that design thinking and practice can fully benefit from systems thinking.


Cornell Lecture online


Birger Sevaldsons lecture from the 2012 Hans and Roger Strauch Symposium on Sustainable Design, "Sustaining Sustainability: Alternative Approaches in Urban Ecology and Architecture," at Cornell University 4th February 2012 is now online.

The symposium was organized jointly by the Cornell University Department of Architecture and the Oslo School of Architecture and Design Research Center for Architecture and Tectonics.

Follow this link to see the lecture  >>>>>>

Michael Hensels keynote lecture at the symposium is found here >>>>>>

Diploma projects win prices

July 5th 2012: Two diploma projects that are based on SOD recieved prices at the final end of year seremony in june 2012.

Price for innovation in design Sponsored by: Norwegian Design Council

Winner: Christian von Hanno – Nordic Choice Hotels, for alle: Everybody’s Choice

Price for social innovation Sponset av: Norsk Form

Winner: Manuela Aguirre og Jan Kristian Strømsnes – Designing for dignity

See also below.


New diplomas

30th June 2012

We are happy to publish information on two new master diploma projects from AHO:

Design for dignity in a sexual violence response system

Manuela Aguirre Ulluoa & Jan Kristian Strømsnes, 2012

This project was done in collaboration with the Sexual Assault Centre (SAC) at the Legevakten emergency hospital in Oslo. Starting this new collaboration with a field and people who have not previously considered the expanded role of design was not an easy task. It was like opening a new field for design and together with the staff from SAC investigate how design can contribute in this case. The project addresses many aspects of SAC, spanning from information to products and interior as well as processes.


1 Designing-for_Dignity_web

To read more about this project follow this link >>>>>



Everybody's Choice

Christian von Hanno

This project looks into the relation between hotels, their booking process and the need to make solutions that fit all (Universal Design or Design for All)


Everybodys Choice nettside 600


To read more about this project follow this link >>>>>


Small GIGA-mapping discussion

by Birger Sevaldson

18th April 2012: Here is an email exchange between George Shewchuk a student at OCADU Toronto and me. George emailed me the below map.  These students at OCADU are often very experienced professionals. His background is in communication design & advertising art direction. I thought his efforts, map and questions are worth sharing.

Gigamap Michi_Laura_George_small

George: I’m a student at ocad u who attended your workshop on giga-mapping. I found that process most interesting and wanted to share with you the work that we developed along our original lines of thinking during your lecture/workshop. I think our team took a solid time-line approach with regard to the production of the map, but perhaps it gets too close to being an "infographic" which is not what we wanted. (although i recall you said that a giga-map can be anything we want it to be -- as long as it's still a tool that can be shared with clients.)

Birger: I regard the gigamaps to be designed artifacts, so while you develop them from sketches to more designed versions the information is rethought and reorganized and also internalized so you will know it by heart. In this process you might co-design the map with clients or other stakeholders, involving them and synchronizing views and perspectives. While moving forward in this meta-design process the role of the map might change form being purely process oriented where communication with people who are not part of this process is of no importance, towards a phase where one wants to start to involve others and to communicate.

To continue reading, click below

Complex solution simply communicated

11th April 2012: Here is a video that was the final design delivery of a very complex project.


The video demonstrates how a series of orchestrated interventions in a solution derived from a deep analyses of a very complex system can be made accessible and communicative.

Project by Lea Brochard, Nicoletta Aveni

AHO - Systems Oriented Design - fall 2011

Prof. Birger Sevaldson with Adrian Paulsen

In collaboration with our partner UDI (Norwegian Directorate of Immigration), we have explored a new way of navigation in space, namely the “economy of signage”.
Our proposal is the result of multiples findings, especially using GIGA-mapping as a tool to provide new guidelines for the 17 new offices which will be opened in Norway, starting from 2013.

The result of our researches is a combination of 3 proposals, not only dealing with a physical space, but with an interior experience:

1. Making the Oslo office an example of beneficial way-finding

2. Providing guidelines to be implemented into upcoming offices (in respect of their locations, sizes, etc.)

3. Mapping of the senses.


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