Sys Lab is a research group at the Politecnico di Torino that has been exploring systemic design methods and tools for sustainability and the Circular Economy for over 10 years.

Systemic Design

Systemic Design is a cultural approach that identifies the relations between the parts of a systems as the elements that generate the system itselfIt deals with matter, energy and information flows in order to develop open systems inspired by the dynamics of natural systems. Following this model, the output of a process becomes the input for another one, avoiding waste and creating new value.


1. Outputs > Inputs

The outputs of a system become the inputs for another productive chain.

2. Relationships

Relationships generate the open system itself.

3. Autopoiesis

Autopoietic systems support and reproduce themselves by co-evolving together...

4. Acting locally

The operating context is local and emphasises the conscious use of local resources.

5. Humanity centred design

The human being, in relation to his or her environmental, social, cultural and ethical context, is the focus of the project.

The methodology

The Sys Lab team has developed over the years a methodology that combines a design vision with the interest in the analysis, exploration, and development of complex systems in response to wicked problems.

Building on well-established Systemic Design models, the Sys Lab methodology delivers practical tools to approach complex scenarios with a holistic perspective, while supporting active cooperation among involved stakeholders. Starting from a broad analysis of the existing system, all possible solutions are explored to converge towards a systemic project that is then developed and finally implemented into the real system. Within the methodological framework of Sys Lab there are 5 steps for a successful research project:

  1. The holistic diagnosis of the current scenario, considering both the surrounding context and the flows of energy and matter
  2. The identification of challenges and opportunities of the current scenario and its flows
  3. The design of a new systemic model based on relationships between processes and actors, which optimizes information, energy and material flows and gives value to waste as resources
  4. The identification and the study of the new outcomes generated by the new systemic model
  5. The validation of the system by demonstrating its feasibility and by implementing the project in the specific context

Meet the team

Silvia Barbero

Director and Co-founder

Amina Pereno

Vice-Director - Co-founder

Asja Aulisio


Eliana Ferrulli


Cecilia Padula


Caterina Rosini


Mariapaola Puglielli


Wen Lu


Alessandro Campanella


We teamed up with…

  • Jotte de Koning

    Visiting Professor, TU Delft

  • Haley Fitzpatrick

    Visiting PhD Student, AHO Oslo School of Architecture and Design

  • Dan Zang

    Visiting PhD Student, Jiangnan University

  • Lucrezia Piccari

    Intern, Politecnico di Torino (2022)

  • Eleonora Possetto

    Intern, Università degli studi di Padova (2023)

  • Laura Caruba

    Intern, Politecnico di Torino (2023)

What we do

We do research. We do Systemic Design. Our method links resources, products, people, and territories to design sustainable systems.

Our work

© Copyright 2022 Sys Lab

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