The USM Design Grant is a study grant launched by the Fondation USM to encourage innovation by rewarding a student’s project. The grant amounts to CHF 25,000. This competition takes place each year during the Design Days, alternating between Geneva and Lausanne, and is granted in turn to a student from HEAD (Geneva School of Art and Design) and Ecal (Lausanne Cantonal Art School).

Space Duality – Investigating Digital Reality
“Space Duality” as part of the USM Design Grant was set up as a semester project in the department of Interior Architecture at HEAD, Geneva School of Art and Design. A group of twelve students developed seven projects offering completely new space-related experiences that are immersive and deeply emotional. Entering the different VR projects while being placed inside or on top of built furnitures does transfer the viewer into an unseen environment full of surprises. While some of the projects have an enchanted charm about them, others challenge us on how we would define what “interior spaces” are in general.

Simon Husslein,
Studio tutor, department of Interior Architecture,
HEAD – Geneva

Design Grant 2019:

Fragmented Past

“Working on nostalgia was challenging for us because that’s a feeling that has apparently nothing to do with virtual reality, which is a quite new medium.

Fragmented Past was born with a very intuitive process. We started by playing with words in a Dadaist way: we both wrote texts inspired from our memories, cut them into words and sentences and then created a new text with these fragments. The result was very surrealist and guided us to build a virtual space that is dreamy, faded but also deconstructed and twisted. This text is read by a woman in the VR experience. In the physical world, you are sitting at the top of a small tower, in a contemplative position. The aim is to immerse the viewer in another time, giving a feeling of nostalgia through the space, the body position and the sounds.”

Mélissa Ferrara, Aurélie Chêne