Transversal project, ECAL 2021


by 2CVmid

Teacher(s): Pauline Saglio, Gaël Hugo, Marcelo Coelho

HERE AND THERE - A new educational model for a post-pandemic world

A collaboration between ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne and MIT Department of Architecture


The global pandemic has forever changed how we work, learn and play, making virtual communication the primary form of human interaction. Here and There is a new digital pedagogy that enables students to create networked physical interfaces with limited material resources and tools, while being away and stripped from a traditional in-person studio and workshop setting.

Initiated during a week-long workshop in Cambridge (USA) in March 2020, it brought together students in Bachelor Media & Interaction Design from ECAL and students from MIT’s Undergraduate Design Minor and Bachelor of Science in Art and Design programs. During the 2020 spring quarantine, a series of open source software and hardware tools were developed to allow students to build electronic objects from simple and readily available materials. These objects were then dynamically routed and connected to each other to physically augment video chatting and to allow students to extend their virtual reach into each other's tangible spaces.

For the first phase of this project, students had to imagine, design and implement two interfaces, whose design and behavior allowed and suggested a new form of communication between two people, in two separate places. Notions of remote presence, simultaneous actions, shared experience and telepresence were explored, fundamentally expanding the ways through which we interact and communicate.

Open to other academic institutions and the public at large, we plan to continue improving the software routing interface, the techniques for documentation and sharing prototypes, as well as the remote interfaces that we hope will help foster a more human and connected post-pandemic world.


Pauline Saglio, Head BA Media and Interaction Design, ECAL
Gael Hugo, Interaction Designer, Associate Professor, ECAL
Marcelo Coelho, Lecturer, MIT Department of Architecture & Head of Design, Formlabs

Teaching assistants:

Pierry Jaquillard, Ous Abou Ras, Benjamin Hoyle, Thaddeus Lee, David Allen White

ECAL students:

Ivan Chestopaloff, Basil Dénéréaz, Nora Fatehi, Paul Fritz, Sébastien Galera Larios, Rayane Jemaa, Dorian Jovanovic, Lisa Kishtoo, Valentine Leimgruber, Valério Meschi, Ignacio Pérez, Michael Pica, David Reitenbach, Malik Sobgoui

MIT students:

Violetta Jusiega, Nikodimos Sendek, Leslie Yan, Katie Bacher, Justin Christensen, Ailing Zhang, Hassaam Ali, Teis Jorgensen, Chenlu Wang

Hub prototyping and development:

Alain Bellet, Gaël Hugo

Web design and development:

Pietro Alberti, Clio Hadjigeorgiou, Pierry Jaquillard, Sébastien Matos


Gianni Camporota


Skylar Tibbits, Associate Professor in Design Research and Design Program Director, MIT Department of Architecture
Cécile Vulliemin, Strategic Partnerships - R&D, ECAL

Hosted at the MIT International Design Center; supported by the General Board of Higher Education State of Vaud and its Summer University program.

ECAL/Ignacio Pérez and Rayane Jemaa

ECAL/David Reitenbach and Ivan Chestopaloff

ECAL/Basil Dénéréaz and Valerio Meschi

ECAL/Malik Sobgoui and Sébastien Galero Larios

ECAL/Nora Fatehi and Michael Pica

ECAL/Paul Fritz and Dorian Jovanovic

ECAL/Lisa Kishtoo and Valentine Leimgruber

ECAL/Gianni Comporota

ECAL/Gianni Comporota

ECAL/Ignacio Pérez and Rayane Jemaa