On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the SAPIENZA DESIGN FACTORY Research Laboratory, the DESIGN for a PHYGITAL WORLD initiative has been launched, which opens up to the community of Designers and Makers to reflect together on the present and future of Digital Manufacturing.

The advent of Digital Manufacturing has shortened the distance that once distanced the design figure from the production environment. Today, the designer gets his hands dirty and becomes a Maker, creating an ever closer link between the conceptual and the real thanks to increasingly accessible and efficient tools. The design process itself (Design Thinking) is changing in the face of the opportunities offered by Digital Manufacturing, but above all the way in which production and consumption are conceived is changing. But the question posed by this initiative goes further and, without any form of easy celebration, asks how we can reconcile Digital Manufacturing with the now urgent challenges of the contemporary world generated by the increasingly dramatic climatic, health and political upheavals that require us to review the very meaning of the things that surround us.

The challenge thrown down to RUFA students is DESIGN for a PHYGITAL WORLD where physical and digital are no longer an alternative to each other, but a new further dimension of necessarily sustainable human action.



Participation is free. To illustrate the challenge of DESIGN for a PHYGITAL WORLD, young Designers and Makers under 30, students or recent graduates from an Italian Design School, are invited to submit product ideas that have already confronted the potential of digital fabrication to respond to the urgencies expressed by contemporary society and well represented in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular, we are looking for ideas that can respond to the challenges of:


The challenge has always been to deterritorialize the magnificence and power of nature in order to integrate innovative solutions into our products, to create self-supporting structures for our projects and to adopt increasingly high-performance generative tools. It is time for design to give nature back its space. The ideas that meet this challenge propose solutions for incorporating the natural elements we so desperately need in places where they are no longer or have never been.


The recent pandemic crisis has shown all the fragility of people and their habits, which have to deal with the issue of well-being and health as a priority. Therefore, the challenge is not only one of medicine called upon to cure, but there is also an open challenge to prevent to which it is possible to respond effectively through new habits and new spaces and objects for living The ideas that respond to this challenge propose solutions that manage to involve man in a life that is increasingly physically active, healthy and independent.


Cities, which are increasingly multicultural and multigenerational, are the place to imagine changes and innovations that are not just something that falls from above but bottom-up actions. Thus the challenge emerges of reviewing in a more shared sense the forms of appropriation and re-appropriation of public spaces and common goods. The ideas that respond to this challenge propose solutions that stimulate the life of urban spaces, improve the quality of the experience of the public good and facilitate movements in the dynamism of the


With additive manufacturing as the only tool on the challenge field, Designers/Makers are asked to come up with proposals that can bring this technology into play for the development of real and immediate solutions. The Hackathon is therefore designed to confront the productive dimension of one’s own project through an additive manufacturing technology that is not known at the outset but whose potential will be addressed during the Hackathon. During the 2 days available, Designers/Makers will have the opportunity to understand the specific manufacturing process and adapt their projects to the resulting manufacturing phases.


The 15 best proposals, selected according to the call’s criteria, will be developed through a 2-day Hackathon that will take place at the Saperi&Co. Centre of the Sapienza University of Rome and then realised and exhibited in the exhibition that will be inaugurated at the Faculty of Architecture of the Sapienza University of Rome.

Prizes will be awarded to the three best projects during the opening of the exhibition. The winners of the Hackathon will be awarded free access to a Certified Training Course in Additive Manufacturing, recognised in 140 countries worldwide. The course offers a unique level of theoretical and practical training. The possibility of using all the most advanced technological resources, as well as the professionalism and competence of the trainers and speakers involved guarantee the quality of the excellent training offer.


30.04.2022 – Deadline for entries

03.05.2022 – Selection results

12-13.05.2022 – Hackathon

16.06.2022 – Exhibition Inauguration and Award Ceremony

The initiative, which will be held from 16 to 17 June 2022, is organised thanks to the collaboration of the Faculty of Architecture of Sapienza University of Rome and the Interdepartmental Centres “Sapienza Design Research” and “Saperi&Co”, with the support of the National U-Fab Network.

Download the call
Registration form