At The


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A/D/O Research Programs are a platform for designers and scholars to explore unique and non-traditional fields related to design. We invest in research because we believe that design is critical to solving global problems and altering perceptions.

At The Border, curated in partnership with Jan Boelen and Charlotte Dumoncel d’Argence, succeeds our 2018/2019 program, Water Futures, and our 2017/2018 program, Utopia/Dystopia.

“It is crucial to step beyond simple dichotomies dictating that spaces should be understood as either territorially bounded or open. Even the most thoroughly fixed borders transform, are crossed, and are partly ‘mobile’.”

Anssi Paasi


Cycle 1 | Charting the Border.

Mapping physical, geological and geographical confines.

Cycle 2 | Imagining the Border.

Disrupting and untangling established systems.

Cycle 3 | Crossing the Border

Finding and stepping through the in-between spaces and the thresholds.


Gender-Neutral Design

The once-strict distinction between “male” and “female” is melting away, with design enabling the expression of new forms of identity.

David Rose's Enchanted Objects

The border between the virtual and physical worlds has been reduced to interaction with cold glass screens. But David Rose is working to return emotional connection to our digital interfaces.

Digital Archaeology

By resurrecting lost antiquities and architectural monuments, like the Triumphal Arch of Palmyra, the Institute of Digital Archaeology is defying borders between past and present.

The Promise of 5G

The next generation of wireless technology could revolutionize connectivity, but faces a series of geopolitical, spatial and digital hurdles before it can become fully operational.

Designing Days

Time is a constant. But the zones we’ve designed that dictate how it is observed around the world have more varying impacts on daily life than we might think.

Theo Deutinger’s Tools of Tyranny

In his Handbook of Tyranny, architect Theo Deutinger surveys “spatial manifestations of power and control” to explore the blurred line between enforcing security and oppression.

The Great Great Wall

In his new book, author Ian Volner describes the “emotional bouillabaisse” he experienced when visiting historically significant walls around the world, and offers context and possible lessons for today’s contentious border-wall debates.

Studio Folder: On The Map

Studio Folder's detailed examinations of mapping practices and techniques will inform new research into America's inner frontiers.

Border Architecture

Ranging from sinister structures to flashy branding exercises, the buildings that form border checkpoints are indicative of political climate and national pride.

At The Border curators interview: “How can we redesign borders?”

Jan Boelen and Charlotte Dumoncel d’Argence, curators of A/D/O research program At The Border, explain why now is such a critical time for the design world to shift the discourse around the “depressing” subject of borders.


The term "border” is inevitably associated with contradictory ideas of belonging and exclusion, of freedom and constraint, protection and defense. Our 2019/2020 Research Program, At The Border, will call on designers to step beyond these simple dichotomies by challenging and redrawing the lines that create contemporary boundaries, whether natural, human, or virtual. In doing so, we aim to ignite discussions about nationalism, identity, privacy, physical walls, rebellion, emancipation, conquest, and what lies at the fringes.

Jan Boelen is artistic director of Z33 House for Contemporary Art in Hasselt, Belgium, artistic director of Atelier LUMA, an experimental laboratory for design in Arles, France, and curator of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial (22 Sep–4 Nov 2018) in Istanbul, Turkey. In 2019, Boelen was appointed as Rektor of the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe.
Charlotte Dumoncel d’Argence is a cultural producer and curator based in Brussels, Belgium. She holds a BA in Industrial Design and an MA in Conceptual Design from Design Academy Eindhoven. From 2008 to 2015, she ran a design practice in the Netherlands and Belgium, and since 2012 has focused on collaborative and curatorial projects.

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