Savina is an Architect and Senior Tutor in the Innovation Design Engineering (IDE) programme.
With a BArch and a MArch from the Mediterranea University of Reggio Calabria and the Final Certificate in Architecture (RIBA Part 3) from the University of Palermo, she has a background in design and architecture practice, research and postgraduate teaching. Savina joined IDE in 2004, and since then, she has covered diverse roles, from Visiting Lecturer to Acting Head of the Programme, largely contributing to the crucial evolution of the IDE's vision and its transitioning from the intersection of Design and Engineering to the pioneering forefront of Transdisciplinarity.
With a focus on systemic thinking and reflective practices, Savina's research investigates the triangulation between Transdisciplinarity, Collaboration and Innovation toward social and environmental challenges and the necessity for a shift in design practices. Her international collaborations include leading transdisciplinary and cross-cultural research projects with Bartlett UCL, Architectural Association, École nationale supérieure d'architecture de Saint-Etienne,Queen Mary University London, University of Naples Federico II, Kyushu University in Fukuoka, La Salle College of Arts, NTU Singapore, CAFA in Beijing, and CERN.
School, Centre or Area
Savina is a Senior Tutor and 2nd-year Lead of the IDE programme. She has been a co-founder and Associate Professor of the London-based module of the Master in Architectural Management and Design (MAMD) at IE School of Architecture and Design in Madrid and a Visiting Professor at Central Academy of Fine Art (CAFA) in Beijing until 2020.
Her current academic responsibilities include planning and delivering the vision for the second year of the IDE programme, leading over 50 postgraduate designers to develop transformative innovation through transdisciplinary research methods and practices, often leading to successful start-ups, and initiating and leading transdisciplinary
collaborations and research projects with international institutions. Intersections and Grand Challenge, to name a few, are projects seeing her deep involvement in embracing transdisciplinarity and the STEAM agenda. The former, a College-wide talk series initiated and led by Savina since 2014, converges science, design, and art, international speakers, postgraduate students and academics from across the college and external audiences.
The 2018-19 Grand Challenge project, which Savina led with Dr Nick de Leon and Carolyn Runcie, brought together the RCA and CERN for an unprecedented transdisciplinary collaboration involving a large number of the RCA academic members, about 50 scientists from CERN and 375 students clustered in 74 teams from across the School of Design to tackle global challenges pertaining to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The project served the multiple purposes of intersecting Design and Science toward producing new knowledge, enabling postgraduate students and RCA academics from diverse backgrounds to come together to tackle global challenges, and implementing innovative teaching and learning approaches, fostering the transdisciplinary evolution of Higher Education.
Her doctoral research investigates the complexity of transdisciplinary team dynamics by employing reflective practices-based frameworks fostering the transition from individualism to collectivism toward more sustainable futures.
The focus on transdisciplinary research methods informs all areas of her research interests, including transformative social and environmental innovation, experimental design, posthuman design practices, design ethics, and design pedagogy.
Savina has led and developed several knowledge exchange and academic-commercial projects in collaboration with Kyushu University, Queen Mary University, CERN, the 2012 Olympics Committee and Epic Games. In collaboration with Zowie Broach and Philip Delamore, the latter explored the multiple ethical implications of creating in the Metaverse dimension and investigated posthuman approaches toward the development of new design practices with the involvement of philosophers, artists, and scientists from international institutions, including among the others, New York University, Imperial College London and John Cabot University.
Savina's areas of interest include transdisciplinary methods, transformative social and environmental innovation, experimental design, posthuman design practices, design ethics, and design pedagogy.
Savina, as an action researcher, predominantly conducts research through practice-based collaborative and participatory projects with the employment of novel methods involving self-reflective practices in professional, academic and diverse cultural contexts.
Her work makes a contribution to participatory, collaborative and transcultural design through the development of transdisciplinary research methods and to the transdisciplinary transition of Higher Education through novel teaching and learning methods in the fields of experimental design, design innovation and architecture.
In 2008 Savina co-founded NOI architects, a transdisciplinary architectural firm based in London whose work stays at the intersection of architecture, design and art.
As a Project Architect and Innovation Consultant, Savina has worked with Foster + Partners, Richard Rogers & Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects.
Her portfolio includes high-rise residential and commercial buildings, hotels, lighting systems, modular residential systems, and kinetic and site-specific installations.
Her work has been exhibited in the UK and abroad.
Current and recent projects
Savina's current research projects include the Grand Challenge research in collaboration with Tuuli Utriainen (CERN), which investigates the evolution of transdisciplinary team dynamics toward the creation of innovation. The research delivers a new reflective practice-based framework serving the dual purpose of fostering the transition from individualism to collectivism within teams and enabling data collection to investigate the correlations between the emergence of behavioural patterns at individual and team levels.
This research converges towards Savina's PhD, which investigates the interrelations between transdisciplinarity, collaboration and teams in diverse cultural contexts through a novel dynamic mapping system depicting transdisciplinary team dynamics towards creating innovation. Exploring the evolving nature of transdisciplinary collaborations without altering the unfolding of the creative process is crucial in a global context in which the production of innovation is based on network-based systems whose epicentres are teams coming together in transient collaborations.
Recent projects include the Encounter project in collaboration with the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing (CAFA), which explored the impact of VR and AR on human interactions in given future urban contexts, the Creative Connectivity project in collaboration with Queen Mary University and the University of Naples Federico II, investigated and analysed the evolution of transdisciplinary dynamics by combining data science and network theory, and the Re-mix project in collaboration with Kyushu University in Fukuoka. Re-mix comprised multiple instalments, respectively, held in London, Fukuoka, and Tokyo to investigate the role of misunderstanding and conflicts in transdisciplinary and transcultural collaborations towards developing creative practices hybridisation.
All projects delivered multiple outcomes, including co-authored conference papers, exhibitions and symposia.
Co-Investigator on Office for Students (OfS) call, 2019
Interinstitutional funds for the Creative Connectivity project in collaboration with Queen Mary University and University of Naples Federico II, 2018 – 2019
Interinstitutional funds for the Re-mix project in collaboration with Kyushu University, 2015 – 2018
External collaborations Savina has delivered include:
Encounter project with the Central Academy of Fine Art (CAFA), Beijing
Grand Challenge project with CERN, London and Geneva
Creative Connectivity with Queen Mary University and University of Naples Federico II, London
GoGlobal 2018, collaborative module for 50 postgraduate students held in Singapore with LASALLE College of Arts and Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
Re-mix project with Kyushu University held in London, Fukuoka and Tokyo
Associate Professor in the Master in Architectural Management and Design (MAMD), IE School of Architecture and Design, Madrid
Encounter project with UCL MArch Urban Design, and the Architectural Association
Departure Lounge project with the Architectural Association, Serpentine Gallery, and the London Festival of Architecture (LFA)
2012 Olympic Park workshop series with the Olympic Delivery Authority and InnovationRCA
Publications, exhibitions, other outcomes
Sommer B., Lee C.H., Martin N., and Torrisi V.S. Immersive Design Engineering. In: Electronic Imaging 2020, Proceedings of Stereoscopic Displays and Applications XXXI 2020 (2020), pp. 1–15, In Print
Torrisi V.S., Manfredi S., Iacopo I., and Latora V. – Creative Connectivity Project – A Network Based Approach to Understand Correlations Between Interdisciplinary Group Dynamics and Creative Performance. In International Conference on Engineering and Product Design, EPDE'19, Glasgow
Torrisi V.S., Inamura T. and Hirai Y. Re- mix Project – Hybridisation Leading to Disruptive Innovation. In International Conference on Engineering and Product Design, EPDE'18, London
Torrisi, V.S. and Hall, A. Missing Miscommunication in Interdisciplinary Design Practice, International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education EPDE'13, September 2013, Dublin
Selection of talks
From Humans to God[s] - Reflections on Beyond Humanism, January 10, 2022
Speakers: Prof. Stefan Lorenz Sorgner (John Cabot University, Rome), Prof. Armand Marie Leroi (Imperial College London), and Prof. Francesca Ferrando (NYU-Liberal Studies, New York)
Organised and Chaired by Savina Torrisi
Teams as Evolving Structures - Connectivity, Hybridisation, Complexity, Grand Challenge 2019-20, RCA, November 26, 2019
International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education EPDE'19, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, September 12-13, 2019
Designing the Future at CERN, Great Exhibition Road Festival Natural History Museum, London, June 29, 2019
Speakers: Savina Torrisi and a selection of students from the winning teams of the RCA SoD 2018-19 Grand Challenge project
Interdisciplinarity, Hybridisation, Innovation, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, April 10, 2019
Interdisciplinarity, Hybridisation, Innovation, Grand Challenge 2018-19, RCA, November 13, 2018
International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education EPDE'18, Dyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College, London, September 6-7, 2018
Interdisciplinarity, Hybridisation, Innovation, - What Design Does in Interdisciplinary Collaborations, Design Day @ CERN, Geneva, October 3, 2018
Speakers: Dr Nick de Leon, Savina Torrisi, Dr Markus Nordberg
Interdisciplinarity, [Connectivity] Hybridisation, Innovation, LaSalle College of Arts, Singapore, March 5, 2018
Re-mix Symposium & Exhibition, Tokyo Midtown Design Hub, July 27-28, 2017
Speakers: Savina Torrisi, Prof. Yasuyuki Hirai, Tokushu Inamura, Prof. YaHideyuki Horii
Re-mix, Royal College of Art & Kyushu University Faculty of Design, Ohashi Campus, Fukuoka, March 25, 2017
Speakers: Savina Torrisi, Prof. Yasuyuki Hirai, and Tokushu Inamura
Social Inclusions COI (Centre of Innovation) with Senior Citizens, JR Hakata City, Fukuoka, March 28, 2015
Speakers: Prof. Yasuyuki Hirai, Savina Torrisi
International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education EPDE'13, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, September 5-6, 2013
Innovation & Architecture, Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Saint-Etienne, September 16, 2011
Grand Challenge, exhibition showcasing the projects of the 74 teams of postgraduate students taking part in the project, London January 2019
Grand Challenge, exhibition at CERN showcasing the projects of the four winning projects, Geneva February 2019
Re-mix 3, exhibition showcasing the projects of the teams of students and academics joining the Re-mix 1 and Re-mix 2 projects, Tokyo July 2017
identiCity, NOI architecs, installation at the London Festival of Architecture, July 2012
Departure Lounge, exhibition showcasing the projects of the teams of postgraduate students joining the project, London Festival of Architecture, July 2011