Here you can find the collection of my main projects

Research – PhD

Systemic design for local circular economies: designing ecosystems to boost systemic innovation in manufacturing sectors. From the theoretical framework to the practical application.

Author: Chiara Battistoni

Tutor: Silvia Barbero


#research #systemicdesign #circulareconomy

thesis online and open access http://hdl.handle.net/11583/2861332

The current global environmental situation needs to be tackled now for its severe consequences on human and planet health. One of the causes identified by scholars is the ‘take-make-dispose’ model defined by the linear economy, which has affected the production and consumption processes. In this framework, also the design field is called into question for its responsibility in the decisions taken in the design phase of new products and production processes. Nowadays, alternative economic models are emerging as the Circular Economy (CE) and the Blue Economy. However, they required a radical change, especially in the cultural paradigm. Indeed, to tackle the current complexity, holistic approaches are necessary to be put into action. To meet the challenges for a sustainable future, also the manufacturing sector needs to reconsider its production models, as it will face a revolution shortly. Systemic Design (SD), an emergent integrative discipline, using Systems Thinking in the design process and practice, applied in the manufacturing sector has been demonstrated to be an approach able to create sustainable production processes, zero waste and a sustainable local development. Moreover, to create eco-innovation and eco-opportunities which can be exploited by the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. Despite the high value of these projects, SD projects implementation is difficult and complex, operating in a framework which implies many changes compared to the current one. 

This PhD thesis fits precisely in this context and wants to fill this gap by exploring the relationships between SD, environmental sustainability and innovation related to entrepreneurship. It was carried out to answer the following research question: “How SD projects can be implemented and supported by local context in order to boost CEs in Europe?”. The goal is to understand the significant eco-entrepreneurial opportunities created by SD projects that can be caught by a new generation of entrepreneurs – the ecopreneurs – to overcome the implementation barriers faced, to ease, foster and support their realisation for their important outcomes and positive impact to change the current environmental situation. After this definition, the final “product” designed is the ‘best’ ecosystem to ease, foster and support the SD opportunities implementation, which can boost local circular autopoietic economies and create a future sustainable local development, based on the quadruple helix model of innovation. The creation of this ecosystem is facilitated by the Local Systemic Network Booster, a theoretical model defined in this thesis, after the analysis of twenty-eight cases studies and three European regional ecosystems (Scotland, the Netherlands, and the Piedmont Region in Italy).  

This doctoral thesis can be considered a research through SD, from SD and for SD, which can contribute to the development of this discipline, especially in the line of research of ‘SD for local circular economy’.

Research – methodology definition

A Systemic Design Method to Approach Future Complex Scenarios and Research Towards Sustainability: A Holistic Diagnosis Tool.


Author: Chiara Battistoni, Carolina Giraldo Nohra, Silvia Barbero.

#research #systemicdesign #circulareconomy

Published in Sustainability journal (2019) Sustainability, 11(16), 4458. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164458

6 citations and more than 1750 views

This article aims to frame the role of Systemic Design (SD) as an alternative design model for the future of design for sustainability, by defining and assessing a structured process to execute Holistic Diagnosis (HD), an innovative context framework. Taking as its background a deep understanding of the design for sustainability and systems thinking concepts that frame SD as a field where HD is rooted, multiple case-study analyses were performed. HD demonstrates its ability to overcome the design boundaries in different fields such as industrial production, local communities, and policy-making, thereby providing a more in-depth understanding of complex environments with an iterative process: assess, research, collect, visualize, and interpret. This framework is a relevant tool for designers to address problem framing in complex scenarios to obtain future sustainable solutions with an innovative and transdisciplinary approach, thereby promoting a horizontal dialogue among all involved components.

Research – Piedmont Holistic Diagnosis

Holistic analysis of the characteristics of Piedmont Region (IT)


Author: Chiara Battistoni, Carolina Giraldo Nohra

#research #systemicdesign #circulareconomy

Published in BATTISTONI C., GIRALDO N.C. (2017) The RETRACE holistic Diagnosis (annexes) in BARBERO S. (edited by), Systemic Design Method Guide for policy maker: a circular Europe on the way, Torino, Allemandi, 2017.


Research –

Systemic Design Approach application to a cookie factory

Research done by Chiara Battistoni, Luigi Bistagnino and Silvia Barbero. In collaboration with ZERI foundation.


#research #systemicdesign #circulareconomy

In this research project the Systemic Design approach was applied to a specific production process: a large biscuit factory. It started with the Holistic Diagnosis of the territory where they are located, considering many aspects, from the geography, to the economy and culture as particular dishes. At the same time the current production model was analysed . This study was performed thanks to many field visits in the territory and in the factory, and thanks to the collaboration of the employees with many meetings in person and workshops. This process has also permitted to increase the employees’ awareness on the current situation, and afterwards guiding the enterprise towards a different and systemic production model to produce zero waste.

The first analysis of the current production model identified that it is based on a linear economic model, producing tons of standard biscuits every day, using worldwide raw materials and shipping the final product everywhere, selling in national and international market. It is not considering their environmental impact, especially in the area where they are located, and the social one, for example on the public health of the inhabitants and the customers. It is exploiting and not valorising the local territory. Instead, the area where the central plant is settled was recognised as one of the most important places for agriculture in the country.

The project mainly acted on the recipe of the biscuits, recreating the connection between actors involved in the local food production, local natural resources and know-how of the region. The re-design of a typical traditional biscuit, was done with nutritionists and with the goal to become a symbol of the region and to show the industry’s care about the consumers’ good health. 

Moreover, a study was performed on the opportunities to solve internal environmental problems as broken biscuits or heat production by ovens. Moreover, the suggestion of using local ingredients as milk, eggs, fruits and spices, creating relationships with local producers, let the factory starts acting as a re-activator of the local agriculture and manufacturing sector. This could have reduced their environmental impact, created cascading impact as the creation of new businesses also for other local entrepreneurs (as the production of butter) and starting at the end a more sustainable territorial economic development for all the region.

Research published in MOTSP conference 2016. BARBERO S., BATTISTONI C. (2016). From the sustainable biscuit production to territorial development through systemic incubator. In: 8th International Scientific Conference Management of Technology – Step to Sustainable Production (MOTSP 2016), Porec (HR), 01–03 June, 2016

Research – circular economy companies in Italy

What really matters? Systemic design, motivations and values of the circular economy companies in Italy

Authors: Chiara Battistoni, Nadia Lambiase, Silvia Barbero, Filippo Barbera

In collaboration with Mercato Circolare


#research #circulareconomy #PhD

Since 2014, the Circular Economy (CE) concept is gaining an important role in the European context thanks to the specific direction given by the EU policy. This research wants to frame Italian companies who are working on CE context to understand mainly which is their approach and awareness to CE and if the design is playing a role in this transition. At the beginning of 2019, an online questionnaire was sent to the actors present in the app database ‘Mercato Circolare’ who, since March 2017, is mapping the Italian situation collecting the actors related to the CE selecting companies, events and experiences of circular citizenship. Despite the response rate was 14%, the results are interesting: 100% are SMEs; 21% are not aware to work on CE; >52% identified difficulties with value appreciation; design competencies are present in the 66% of realities and in 29% the designers by formation are founders.


Research – circular economy implementation in Europe

Is Design playing a role in the realisation of Circular Economy projects in Europe? A case study analysis.

Author: Chiara Battistoni, Silvia Barbero


#research #circulareconomy #PhD

Thanks to the strong push coming from the European Union to fight waste production, the Circular Economy (CE) has gained an important role in Europe. Following this trend, many institutions nowadays state to work on the CE implementation or supporting the transition to a CE. However, are they including design approaches and practices? The design phase is starting to be considered the crucial point to obtain a CE as it required a profound radical change from the beginning of the process and at system levels. After framing the CE concept, we performed desk research to identify which are the players in the CE projects implementation. Afterwards, a multiple case study analysis were performed to the most proper one to understand the presence and the role of design in the implementation process. The results placed the actors in a very fragmented framework and seem to lack almost completely the design presence.


Master thesis – ALTA VAL SANGONE, new opportunities generated by the territory.

Is Design playing a role in the realisation of Circular Economy projects in Europe? A case study analysis.

Students: Chiara Battistoni, Alessandra Daghero

Relator: Luigi Bistagnino

Dec, 2013

#research #systemicdesign #thesis

This thesis wanted to explore the specific potentialities of a specific territory (a mountain Valley next to Torino) and forecast a more sustainable local development thanks to the application of the systemic design approach and its methodology.
The analysis started firstly from morphological and climatic data, and later the census of the agriculture (useful rural land and the use of the soil) and crossing them with the studies about a healthy diet like the Mediterranean one. The
research proved that the territory can sustain itself with only its resources. Indeed, it is possible to satisfy the entire population’s food requirements and also the amount of energy and water required.
The analysis went in depth in the principal productive activities in the area (24 typologies) – focusing on the micro-small activities – redefining their production processes with the guidelines of the systemic design. Thanks to this work, it was possible to create a net of relations between them, working on the flows of matter and energy that go from one productive process to another one. The conclusion was the creation of a macrosystem (‘the system of the system’) in which was demonstrated how the definition of the net can create new activities, thanks to the generative characteristic of the systemic design (24 can create 26 new activities).
Finally, it was executed the economic assessment for each activities and we did some predictions about the future situation of the entire area, as managed in a systemic way.
This analysis allowed to understand how systemic design is important, not only for facing environmental problems, but also as a valid opportunity for the local economy and it represents a concrete possibility to overcome the current economical crisis.
About the outcomes, in addition to the economical outcomes with the creation of a solid local micro-economy with positive
benefits and new jobs, the territory is the main character with the best benefits like the creation of a strong local identity
valorizing itself and its products. The proximity between the different activities and an almost totally local distribution reduce logistics to the minimum. This leads to an improvement in tourism and to the launch of new typologies currently not present, as the agro-food one. Fundamental is also the benefit for the local community who lives the territory that can change in a positive way: they become more aware of belonging to a big system and of living in a territory that must be respected. On a social level, there is the creation of an evident welfare, a consciousness of the impact and effects of their actions with a rediscovering of the local know-how. The proposal leads to an improved quality of the products, which positively affects the quality of life of the citizens
and the quality of the territory itself.

Project – graphic design

client: Tele Vco 2000


graphic design of the wallpaper and logo design of the ‘virtual area’  in Novacoop in Domodossola (IT)

#graphicdesign #logodesign

graphic design of the wallpaper and logo design of the ‘virtual area’  in Novacoop in Domodossola (IT)


Project – graphic design

client: Comune di Torino, European project Urban wins


tutor of the thesis in industrial design at Politecnico di Torino

designers: Francesca Carraro, Giada Mattias; tutor: Silvia Barbero, Chiara Battistoni

#graphicdesign #logodesign

Graphic design of the wallpaper and logo design of the ‘Path project’ in the registry office of Torino (IT)

thesis: “Path, a new way to communicate the responsible consumption of drinkable water”


Project – product design

SFARZO DI CARTONE (cardboard luxury)

client: residenze sabaude (IT)


designers: Chiara Battistoni, Matilde Argentero


Chandelier in cardboard, in different shapes that remember the Savoy’s chandelier – “Materialmente” project – “Merchandising per le regge sabaude” promoted by Confartigianato Torino – presents in some exhibitions as Artò in 2011.

Published in Bozzola M., Germak C., De Giorgi C. (2012). Design per i beni culturali territoriali, Merchandising museale e artigianato. Torino, Celid

Project – product design

client: ecomuseo Rorà (IT)


designers: Chiara Battistoni, Elisa Fea and Francesca Saimandi.


Trivet in stones and rope, realized by craftmen for the project “Eco e Narciso”  by Provincia di Torino in 2008 – exhibited in Rorà ecomuseo. 

Published in Eco e Narciso (2008) Cultura Materiale/Design, Provincia di Torino.


photographer for passion

2020 – ..

portfolio available at https://www.shutterstock.com/g/Chiara-bat


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