L’École de design
opens its doors in Laval
At the start of the 2024 academic year, the school will move into the Laval Virtual Center, the first international hub dedicated to virtual and augmented reality. It will offer four courses: three DN MADE (National Diploma in Fine Arts, Crafts and Design) at Bachelor's degree level and a Diploma in Design at Master's degree level.
110 students are expected to join the Laval branch for its opening year. They will benefit from the project-based teaching expertise developed by the Nantes-based school, which is a member of the Conférence des Grandes Ecoles (CGE) and has been awarded the EESPIG label (Private Higher Education Institution of General Interest).
A new approach to design education aimed at meeting the skill needs of companies
Immersive, virtual, mixed and extended reality technologies are now finding applications in many sectors of activity: the built environment, industry, entertainment, retail, etc., combined with the capabilities of generative Artificial Intelligence. All the design professions in these different fields are impacted, and it means we must anticipate the expectations of stakeholders in terms of skills by 2030.
These new technologies and the accelerated development of AI are causing the profession of designer to evolve, in particular towards the creation of new digital artifacts, informational, virtual, interactive and connected spaces, etc., and the promise of new user experiences.
Anne Brochard, president of L’École de design Nantes Atlantique, explains:"Design is a discipline that plays a strategic role and must reconcile economic and environmental issues with consumer expectations. By establishing a base in Laval, we are joining an ecosystem that is internationally recognized for its expertise in virtual and augmented reality. Our goal is to train the professionals who will oversee the skills upgrade of companies in the sector in the years to come."
Patrick Péniguel, president of Laval Virtual, adds:"The Laval Virtual Reality ecosystem confirms its status in the field and its contribution to the attractiveness of the region. The Laval Virtual fair, a leader in Europe with its 10,000 visitors, 40 nationalities and 200 exhibitors, will provide a springboard for students to meet with companies in the sector in the coming years. In collaboration with Laval Virtual, Clarté and startups in the field, new immersive teaching methods will be explored and developed, making the region a pioneering territory for experimentation in the domain."
The project has received the support of the Department of Mayenne and Laval Agglomeration. The two communities will finance the first three years of running the Laval site. By the start of the 2026 academic year, L'École de design Nantes Atlantique expects to welcome over 300 students, including 130 apprentices.
Florian Bercault, the mayor of Laval and president of Laval Agglomération, declares: "We are thrilled to welcome a branch of L'École de design Nantes Atlantique to the Laval Virtual Center. Laval Agglomeration is a dynamic environment and this high-quality training program will enhance our higher education offering. This new facility is part of our ambition to make Laval a more attractive place to live, which includes the development of an innovative campus offering a stimulating ecosystem, with the goal of attracting 10,000 full-time and work-study students to the region by 2030."
Olivier Richefou, president of the Departmental Council, concludes: "We are delighted about the arrival of L'École de design Nantes Atlantique in Mayenne in 2024. I have worked hard for this project because it is a school with a strong reputation in the art and design professions, a school that will ultimately welcome 300 students, some of them at Master's level. It is an opportunity for our region and for our young people to see a school of this quality opening a branch here, proof of Mayenne's attractiveness in terms of higher education. This project has been made possible by the tremendous local ecosystem and is in line with the Mayenne Department's ambition of attracting 10,000 students by 2030!"
Four training programs opening in September 2024 to support the digital transformation of design professions
In order to train designers who will be equipped to handle the growing importance of 3D modeling and prototyping tools, the school will draw on the expertise of two long-standing partners (more than 20 years of cooperation): CLARTE, a technology resource center specialized in Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and emerging technologies, and the Laval site of the Arts et Métiers Institute.
It will offer three DN MADE national diplomas, equivalent to a bachelor's degree and accessible after high school via the Parcoursup procedure (the French admissions platform for the first year of higher education).
- DN MADE Retail & Interior Design whose objective is to train students in the techniques of Building Information Modelling (BIM), essential in the fields of interior architecture, architecture and design of the built environment.
- DN MADE Industrial Products, dedicated to modeling and virtual mock-ups, to meet the skills needs of the industry
- DN MADE Digital Media Design, based on methods and approaches in user experience design (UX Design) for immersive environments and virtual worlds.
These three specialized diplomas will be offered in the same pedagogical format: two years of schooling and a third year of apprenticeship. In September 2024, each course will be open to 30 students.
New ways of teaching and collaborating enabled by virtual worlds
In addition, the school has developed a new Master's degree in Design: “Design and Innovation Strategy in Immersive Worlds”.
This two-year program, approved by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, will initially be open to 20 students who will complete their curriculum as an apprenticeship. Part of the teaching will be delivered remotely in a virtual world.
It follows the approach adopted in 2006 by the CFA (Apprentice Training Center) of L'École de design Nantes Atlantique to establish design as a strategic discipline that stimulates innovation, at the heart of organizations.