What is Design Fiction?

Design fiction is about merging fictional literary practices and speculative artistic craftmanship in order to engage in critical ways of future making in design.

Co-Designing Sustainable Domestic Technologies

Did you know that the 5 apps running in the background of your smart phone equal the CO2 emission of a gasoline-fueled car driving 500 km? Probably not. For most of us it is incredibly difficult to understand the environmental footprint related to our digital consumption. This is not least due to the complex ICT-infrastructure that is needed to support people’s private use of digital technologies.

Co-Designing Sustainable Domestic Technologies was a 1-year funded education-based project that aimed at increasing our awareness and understanding of how much CO2 emission that is caused by digital consumption. The project was organized into 4 educational courses and involved more than 120 BA and MA students.

In collaboration with the energy and fiber net provider EWII and Aalborg University (AAU), the Social Design Unit set up a design brief for students at both AAU and SDU. Their task was to do ethnographic fieldwork in Danish households in order to produce actionable insights. Based on this research and co-design with families, students came up with concepts and prototypes demonstrating how people can use IT more cleverly to reduce their unsustainable digital consumption. Their projects were presented for EWIIs management.

Eva Knutz, Thomas Markussen – Department of Design, Media and Educational Science, University of Southern Denmark
Aalborg University, Ewii
Funded by
It-vest – networking universities
569,440 Kr.
Project time


The social design unit has previously worked with Danish authors Kaspar Colling Nielsen and Peter Adolphsen with the aim at exploring new ground conditions for design. Colling Nielsen’s dystopian vision of a Danish civil war (2018-2025) has been our starting point for a design-based inquiry into the as yet unknown socio-cultural consequences of the financial and economic crises; and Adolphsen’s speculations of a pandemic wrinkle fucking disease set stage in 2016 for a collective design and theatre performance.

Eva Knutz, Thomas Markussen, Tau Ulv Lenskjold  Department of Design & Communication, University of Southern Denmark
Peter Adolphsen, Kasper Colling Nielsen, Mark Blythe, Andrew Morrison, Per Krogh Hansen, Mette Gislev Kjærsgaard
Funded by University of Southern Denmark
300.000 Kr.
Project time
May 2016


Design Fiction and the Art of Anticipation
Knutz, E.,
Markussen, T. (2023). Proceedings of IASDR 2023 Conference, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
Design Fiction as a Practice for Researching the Social
Markussen, T., Knutz, E., & Lenskjold, T. (2020). Temes de Disseny, (36), 16-39
Probing the Future of Participatory Healthcare through Speculative Design
Knutz, E., Markussen, T., & aus der Wieschen, M. V. (2020, July). In 6th European Design4Health conference (pp. 73-82). Sheffield Hallam University
Fiction as a resource in participatory design
Knutz, E., Lenskjold, T. U., & Markussen, T. (2016). In Proceedings of DRS 2016 International Conference: Future–Focused Thinking (pp. 1830-1844). Design Research Society
The role of fiction in experiments within design, art & architecture-towards a new typology of design fiction
Knutz, E., & Markussen, T. (2014).  Artifact: Journal of Design Practice, 3(2), 8-1
The Poetics of Design Fiction
Markussen, T., & Knutz, E. (2013, September). In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Designing Pleasurable Products and Interfaces (pp. 231-240)
Fictional emotions within Emotion driven Design
Knutz, E.  (2012). Published in proceedings of 7th International conference on Design & Semantics of Form & Movement, Wellington, New Zealand, 2012


The Role of Fiction in Experiments within Design, Art & Architecture: towards a new typology of Design Fiction

Knutz, E., Markussen, T. & Christensen, P. R.(2013)Artifact, vol.3, Issue 2, pp.2.1-2.13

The Poetics of Design Fiction

Markussen, T. & Knutz, E. (2013) In Proc. of the DPPI Conference, ACM Press.