The Politecnico di Milano was among the first universities in Italy to start a PhD degree programme in Industrial design in 1990, under the direction of Tomás Maldonado. The very first years of its activity were devoted to strengthen the disciplinary core of design. Then, under the direction of Ezio Manzini (1996-2009) the accent was put on methodological aspects and theory, while the subjects of research were gradually expanded to cover those new fields that design was embracing, such as sustainability, services and interface design. In 2009 Francesco Trabucco succeeded Manzini in the direction of the programme – now PhD in Design – and focused his attention on the nature of design, with its aesthetical, formal, performance and meaning values. In this sense the challenge has become to reconsider design activity, notably that related to practice, as the centre of investigation – in its processes, methodologies and outcomes. Since these values have been some of the main features of Italian design, this new path can be considered as an attempt to invigorate and renew our tradition. This book collects the first results of this new direction of the research and educational programme.