BiomimiCry Edition 2021 The BiomimiCry exhibition in 2021 at the Nantes Museum

Digital Design Lab


The Digital Design Lab at L’École de design Nantes Atlantique focuses on the notions of UX Design and digital innovation.

digital design lab

The Lab creates hybrid devices for 4 types of design:  

  • Design of connected objects: physical spaces, furniture, connected objects or environments;
  • Interactive design: immersive & augmented environments, augmented realities, mixed realities, natural gestural interfaces, Artificial Intelligence, robotics;
  • Digital design inspired by life: biomimicry, complex living systems, the intelligence of other systems, interspecies approaches;
  • Artificial intelligence design: machine learning and predictive machine learning models, chatbots, computer vision, neural networks & deep learning.

"The Digital Design Lab is specialized in immersive user experiences, in everything that is related to virtual reality, augmented reality, as well as tangible experiences. "

Frédérique Krupa, directrice du Digital Design Lab
Frédérique Krupa
Digital Design Lab's Director

The Digital Design Lab approach

Technologies are changing rapidly. Today, a multitude of digital devices are appearing on the market with the promise of new, ever more stimulating and powerful user experiences. Tomorrow's digital designer will have to design intelligent, less polluting, adaptable connected objects or systems that are tailored to users' needs.

    Présentation du Digital Design Lab par Frédérique Krupa

    In this changing context, the Digital Design Lab aims to:

    • Produce new digital devices to serve Research and Industrial Development. The specificity of our Master's course in Digital Design consists in combining user experience (UX design) and digital. The idea: to formalize tangible and immersive human experiences thanks to complex artificial and/or living intelligent systems.


    • Develop UX Design Production Methods. The Digital Design Lab develops UX design methods that incorporate UX Machine Learning (MLUX) and Artificial Intelligence. The designer learns to clarify the user's needs/impacts, depending on the nature of the interface or software used.


    • Feed a UX design and digital innovation platform mixing research, pedagogy and industrial partnerships. Partnerships with industrialists allow us to develop innovative teaching methods to serve the project, as students are made aware very early on of the issues raised by our collaborators.
    Ligeris project BiomimiCry exposed to the Museum of NantesLigeris, a BiomimiCry 2022 project led by Anxhela Ferro, Léa Genais, Tanguy Le Crom, Manon Routhiau, Aurore Tanguy

    The Digital Design Lab’s activities

    The Digital Design Lab is a platform for research, training and innovation in the field of UX Design and digital innovation. Learn more about the Research - Training - Innovation approach.

    The Digital Design Lab's research areas

    The research themes of the Digital Design Lab address 4 areas:

    • How does user experience (UX) research translate into tangible experiences with connected objects, systems or environments?
    • How does UX research build on immersive experiences in virtual, mixed or augmented reality?
    • How does the natural intelligence of living systems combine with Artificial Intelligence to enhance user experiences?
    • How can designers incorporate UX design methods into the design of predictive models and other forms of artificial intelligence?

    Discover all the Digital Design Lab conferences and publications

    Laval Virtual 2022 Robin Exbrayat presenting his project at Laval Virtual 2022

    CIFRE theses (Industrial agreements for training through research)

    The Digital Design Lab supports two CIFRE theses on the theme of artificial intelligence, its design and its acceptability in a professional environment. One is co-supervised with LS2N/Nantes University for the French company SIGMA and the other is co-directedwith MICA Bordeaux for the company Thalès.

    Other topics are conducive to doctoral research, such as:

    • the extension of algorithmic approaches to artificial intelligence
    • the acceptability of immersive virtual reality devices 
    • the use of digital devices by and for vulnerable groups 
    • the social and environmental responsibility of digital companies with regenerative, frugal, circular, sustainable or eco-responsible approaches

    The methodology

    The Digital Design Lab's methodology is based on pragmatic design-led research, interdisciplinary teams and a project-based approach with a systemic vision. This scientific research methodology aims to reconcile the production of both scientific knowledge and knowledge derived from the field. The Digital Design Lab advocates a practice-based, action research approach to technology to tackle complex problems.

    It means bringing electronic and programming logic to the wealth of knowledge and skills developed by the designer. This includes:

    • electronic hardware prototyping for IoT;
    • connected objects and environments;
    • programming for immersive environments (Unity) and Machine Learning design (Python).
    Virtual reality

    Competitions and exhibitions

    Entomologik (2019) & Biomimi-Cry (2020-21):

    These experimental biomimicry and inclusive design projects allow students to develop innovative solutions in response to complex problems: digital and musical accessibility or ecological responsibility, for example. The success of these projects is illustrated by repeated invitations to the Nantes Digital Week, the Utopiales, the Nuit Blanche des chercheurs, Laval Virtual, IVRC, etc.

    terra ligeriaTerrA LigériA is an exhibition composed of several scientific mediation devices developed by 50 students of the Digital Design Lab and Polytech Nantes

    Startups/End of Studies Projects funded by social innovation competitions


    Ophélie Le Bras (alumni 2015) started this B2B while honing her experience at AXA Research and Qwant; she is now CEO and product design lead of the startup, a complete solution provider for French wine merchants and fine grocery stores.


    The duo Nicolas Cloarec (alumni 2010) and Heidi Ghernati (alumni 2009) created this dataviz dashboard solution alongside the launch of their interaction design consultancy Bakasable.

    Speak UX!

    Amina Essilimani (alumni 2010) launched this UX design consultancy dedicated to the design of chatbots, text and vocal interfaces in 2018 for clients like the SNCF. Her MLUX approach has been incorporated into the Digital Design Lab’s curriculum.

    the design crew logo
    The Design Crew

    Jérémy Barré and Félix Lepoutre (alumni 2014), co-founded The Design Crew, the first training program dedicated to product design in France, to capitalize on their previous collective experiences in France and the Silicon Valley at Lydia, YouTube, Facebook, Drivy, etc.

    Visionaries 777

    Nicolas Guyon and Frantz Lasorne(alumni 2009) started their AR/VR studio in Hong Kong in 2010 and have gained a huge industry recognition since then, working with a number of major companies worldwide like Lego, BMW, Infiniti, Stratasys…

    Become a partner of the Digital Design Lab

    Do you work for a company, association or local authority? Want to improve the quality of your projects and their user experience? Do you have a specific problem or a complex field to explore?

    The Digital Design Lab offers you different types of collaborative projects:

    • collaborative workshops;
    • assessment missions;
    • research contracts;
    • hosting doctoral designers.

    The services provided are eligible for the Research Tax Credit.

    Tell us about your project and we will get back to you promptly. 

    Contact us at

    The Partners of the Digital Design Lab


    logo airbuslogo crédit agricolelogo ARKEA Credit MutuelDecathlonlogo e-cobotlogo irbalogo mobidyslogo orangelogo sigmaLogo SNCFlogo stellantislogo thales

    Institutions and NGOs

    Logo IEM
    logo lieu unique2logo museumlogo pinglogo stereolux
    The Digital Design Lab Team

    Dr. Frédérique Krupa
    Designer-researcher, Director of the Digital Design Lab

    Dr. Frédérique Krupa is a UX/UI designer and research methodology specialist with over 25 years of experience working for start-ups, notably at Virtools/Dassault Systemes and Simple Is Beautiful. In parallel to her design career, she has been a professor at prestigious design schools such as Parsons School of Design, RISD, University of the Arts, ENSAD and Paris College of Art, where she founded and chaired the Masters (MA) and Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in Transdisciplinary New Media. She completed her Doctorate in Design with her dissertation Girl games: gender, design and technology in the service of women’s recruitment in ICT? at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, followed by a postdoc in peer-to-peer ICT pedagogy at the faculty-free and highly competitive computer science school 42, specializing in machine learning algorithms and AI ethics. Her current research focuses on establishing AI UX methods, a holistic, transdisciplinary and systemic approach to create unbiased machine learning data, algorithms and predictive models.

    Arnaud Le Roi
    Designer, Course leader of the Digital Design Lab

    A designer trained at the European School of Art of Brittany (EESAB), with a degree in DNAP (National Diploma in Plastic Arts) and a Master’s degree in Design, a National Diploma in Plastic Expression (DNSEP), Arnaud Le Roi has developed a plural approach to the profession of designer in the fields of contemporary creation, the various professional networks of digital and institutional production or distribution. He has been working professionally in the game and animation film sectors since the early 2000s as Game Designer/Lead Artist: Banja by the Team Chman, Lille, 1999-2001, Golden Nica "Net Vision", first price at Ars Electronica- AEC, Game design price NHK Japan - OniriaPictures, Luxembourg, Thierry Schiel and Sophia Kolokouri, audiovisual production and feature films: "Tristanet Isolde", "Renart The Fox, Bob Beach". Manager of a design agency, he also participates in the follow-up of various advertising projects for Havas Worldwide, Euro RSCG (Umbro, Savelis, Bonduelle, France Inter...). 3D teacher at the design school since 2001, he joined the Design Lab in 2013. Course Leader of the Master’s degree, he is the referent designer of the Immersive UX and Virtual Realities program until 2018. During these years, he developed pedagogical engineering skills in the field of creativity and innovation and supervised numerous projects with industrial partners of the Design Lab. Orange, Airbus, PSA group, SNCF, e-cobot, and collaborates on various research projects: IDEA (Immersive Data Exploration and Analysis) in partnership with Polytech (LS2N) - AmbiDys (dyslexia and automatic language processing) in partnership with LINA/ TaL.

    Valentin Dupas
    Digital Design Lab Developer

    After studying in the Master’s program in Web, Multimedia and Networks at the University of South Brittany, Valentin Dupas joined the Lab in 2019. His interests span all types of design, from system architecture to the techno-social evolution of society. His aim is to support pedagogical and student projects, particularly in terms of electronic production (arduino/processing), software development for virtual and augmented reality, rapid prototyping (3D printing, laser cutting, CNC, etc.) and machine learning.

    Soizic Boeffard
    Educational assistant, Digital Design Lab

    Some Alumni stories
    • Gabriel Martzloff - Product Design Prototyper at Meta Reality Labs
    • Morgane Sanglier - Senior Visual Designer at Google
    • Mélie Ling - Innovation Lab Manager at RATP Group
    • Mikael Queric - Sr Group Design manager at Adobe 3D&i
    • Marie Guillaud-Blaise - Lead Designer Experience at Renault Group

    Updated on 02.05.24