design school

of the school

"Design, a discipline at the frontier of creation, management and strategy dedicated to a sustainable world."

Christian Guellerin, directeur général de l'école
Christian Guellerin
Executive Director of L'École de design Nantes Atlantique

A prestigious design school

A major player in higher education, L'École de design Nantes Atlantique, an establishment of the Nantes St-Nazaire Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was founded in 1988. It trains professionals in creation and innovation through initial and continuing education.

A pioneer in addressing the shift in technological, societal and environmental contexts, it has a unique position, considering design as a strategic discipline at the service of a responsible and sustainable world.

L'École de design Nantes Atlantique is a private, non-profit association (under the French law of 1901). Recognized by the State, it is a member of the Conférence des Grandes Ecoles and associated with Nantes University. Its mission is recognized as being of general interest by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research. As such, it is one of the few design schools to hold the EESPIG label (Établissement d'Enseignement Supérieur Privé d'Intérêt Général).

Agora seen from above

Recognized degrees

L'École de design Nantes Atlantique delivers the Master's Degree in design approved by the Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation and conferring the grade of Master. It is the first private design school to have obtained the accreditation to deliver the grade of Master, testifying to the excellence and international renown of its 5-year degree.

The school also delivers the National Diploma of Arts and Design (DN MADE, 3-year Bachelor's degree) through the academic route and through work-study programs in the framework of its Apprentice Training Center (CFA).

The school in Nantes and Laval

Agora ecole de design
The school at the heart of Nantes' Creative District

Since September 2022, L'École de design Nantes Atlantique has been located in the heart of the Quartier de la Création in Nantes, in a unique architectural setting, a place of creativity, learning and a window on the world.

In a new 11,600m² building located on the Ile de Nantes, the school trains students in all design professions (space design, product design, digital design, graphic design, etc.) and offers 700 m² of manufacturing and prototyping space with its numerous workshops (model workshops, digital workshops and studios, etc.).

laval virtual center
A new immersive design training program in Laval

Capitalizing on Laval's expertise and international recognition in virtual and augmented reality, L'École de design Nantes Atlantique will offer 4 immersive design courses from the start of the 2024 academic year: 3 DN MADE (Space Design, Product Design and Digital Design) and a Master’s degree in design. These courses are intended to train designers specializing in immersive technologies, to meet the skills needs of companies through apprenticeships, and to support the digital transformation of the design and innovation professions.

The arrival of L'École de design Nantes Atlantique in Laval was made possible by the Laval Virtual association, with the support of the Conseil départemental de la Mayenne (Mayenne County Council) and Laval Agglomération. Students will be based in the Laval Virtual Center.

Programs available in Nantes
Programs available in Laval

A school with a professional outlook

One of the key strengths of L'École de design Nantes Atlantique is its historical ties with the professional world.

To help its students enter the workforce, to enable companies to recruit their future employees and to raise awareness of design, creation and innovation, the school has developed professional training programs and increased the number of professional gateways: internships, apprenticeships, prospective studies, workshops, projects in partnership with companies on real-life issues, and professional designers on the teaching staff. 

Focus on apprenticeships: In 2006, L'École de design Nantes Atlantique created the first CFA (Apprentice Training Center) in France dedicated to design and innovation. Each year the school graduates between 350 and 400 apprentices.

ecole ambiance atelier dn made

An international school, a global campus

Understanding the culture of others allows our students to enrich their own culture and creativity. For several years, L'École de design Nantes Atlantique has chosen to establish itself in the four corners of the world. It is located in Pune (India), Shanghai (China), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Montreal (Canada) and in Cotonou (Benin) with Africa Studio. It has also developed partnerships with more than a hundred international universities to encourage its students to immerse themselves internationally.

The school's international programs also allow it to welcome international students each year, bringing great diversity and a wealth of culture and experience to the campus.

The school is an active member of the Cumulus association, the first worldwide association of design schools, and is also a member of Campus France, in charge of promoting French higher education worldwide.

In 2020, L'École de design Nantes Atlantique created the first design school in Africa, Africa Design School, in partnership with Sèmè City, the international city of innovation and knowledge.

In 2022, L'École de design Nantes Atlantique has been chosen by one of the most prestigious Chinese art and design universities, the China Academy of Art (CAA) in Hangzhou, to create the first Sino-French design institute, the NACAA (Nantes Atlantique CAA).

international fair
partner universities around the world

Nantes, Shanghai (China Studio), Pune (India Studio), Sao Paulo (Brazil Studio),
Montreal (Le Studio Montreal), Cotonou (Africa Studio)

Research at the heart of the school

As a research and innovation center, the school has created 5 Design Labs, platforms for research, training and innovation dedicated to the exploration through design of themes related to social, technological and environmental transformations:

The school has also set up design-led research chairs.

Virtual reality

Incorporating design as a lever for innovation in organizations

L'École de design Nantes Atlantique offers several forms of collaboration to structures that are confronted with the permanent need to adapt, innovate and transform themselves.

  • Pedagogical projects: different workshop formats during which students and companies explore new areas of innovation using prospective design methods and tools.
  • Recruitment: thanks to the corporate relations team and the We Design platform, the school puts companies in touch with students looking for an internship or an apprenticeship contract, and with junior or senior design graduates.
  • Continuing education: in-house or inter-company, the school assists companies in developing an agile and creative culture. The continuing education modules encourage creativity and provide tools to better understand the user experience.
partner companies
participants in continuing education each year
corporate partnerships each year

Key dates

  • 1988 Establishment of the school
  • 1997 The degree is extended from 4 to 5 years and is accredited at level II
  • 1998 Installation on the Chantrerie campus
  • 1999 Launch of continuing education activities
  • 2000 First initial training in digital design
  • 2002 State recognition and accreditation of the degree by the Ministry of Higher Education
  • 2003 The school becomes a member of thea Conférence des Grandes Ecoles (CGE)
  • 2005 Launch of the 1st Double degree (with IAE-IEMN of Nantes University)
  • 2006 Creation of the 1st Apprentice Training Center (CFA) in France dedicated to creation and innovation
  • 2007 Presidency of the Cumulus association by Christian Guellerin, director general of the school
  • 2008 Launch of the Virtual Reality Double Degree with Arts et Métiers Paris Tech and opening of the first international studio in China
  • 2009 Reorganization of the Master's program into thematic programs
  • 2010 Opening of a studio in India, creation of the first Design Lab dedicated to digital innovation
  • 2011 Opening of the master's degree program with apprenticeship
  • 2012 Creation of two new Design Labs (City Design Lab and Food Design Lab)
  • 2014 Recognition by the CFrench Council of Interior Architects (CFAI), creation of the Care Design Lab, launch of the first chaire in design (Connected Environments Banque Populaire Atlantique Lippi)
  • 2016 Extension of the premises on the Chantrerie site
  • 2017 Opening of a studio in Brazil, opening of the Sino-French Center at the Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts (China), launch of the Design & Innovation in Public Sector chair
  • 2018 Opening of a studio in Canada in partnership with CENTECH, creation of the D.I.U Innovation & Digital Transformation program co-organized by Nantes University (Centrale Nantes) as part of the Disrupt’Campus Nantes
  • 2019 Celebration of the school's 30th anniversary, creation of Africa Design School (ADS), the first design school in Africa, in Cotonou (Benin), opening of the first 3-year DN MADE (Diplôme National des Métiers d’Art et de Design equivalent to a Bachelor's degree), laying of the first stone of the new school building on the Ile de Nantes, opening of Studio France in Nantes: a master's degree program dedicated to international students
  • 2020 Award of the Bienvenue en France (Welcome to France) label, issued by Campus France, opening of all master's courses in Nantes as apprenticeships
  • 2021 The school obtains the EESPIG label, is recognized as being of general interest by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation and is authorized to award the Master's degree.
  • 2022 Development of a new branch of Studio Montreal with the incubator, installation in a new building designed by the architects and designers Marc Miram, GPAA and Patrick Jouin & Mankucovering 11,600 m2 in the heart of the creative district on the Ile de Nantes ;
  • 2023 Open ceremony of NACAA, the 1st Sino-French design institute in partnership with the China Academy of Art (CAA) in Hangzhou ; Signature of a cooperation agreement with the Laval Virtual association and two agreements with the Conseil départemental de la Mayenne and Laval Agglomération to offer four courses: three DN MADE at Bachelor's degree level and a Diploma in Design at Master's degree level at Laval ; Creation of the Africa Studio, the school's 5th international studio in Cotonou, Benin.

Board of directors

The school is a 1901 law non-profit association run by a Board of Directors that handles all strategic decisions related to management and education. The board is composed of consular elected representatives, company managers, professionals and student representatives.


Anne Brochard - Chief Etincelle Officer at L’étincelle RH

Secretary General

Henri-Bruno Calmels - General Secretary - EDF Pays de la Loire Regional Delegation

  • Representative of the students (Délégué du personnel)
  • Representative of the staff (Président BDE)
  • Representative of former students (alumni president)
  • Auditor (KPMG)
Updated on 19.10.23