Design for (every)one was founded in 2009 at the Howest University College of Applied Sciences by prototyping wizard Bart Grimonprez, occupational therapist Bart Mistiean and design researcher Lieven De Couvreur. The project was a reaction on paradigm shifts within industrial design and occupational therapy. The main trigger was the 'EyeWriter' project from Mick Ebeling, Zachary Lieberman, Evan Roth, James Powderly, Theo Watson and Chris Sugrue. This low-cost eyetracking system originally designed for paralyzed graffiti artist TEMPT1. The 'EyeWriter' system uses inexpensive cameras and open-source computer vision software to track the wearer's eye movements.

Through their experiential and social approach product hackers discover new possibilities in a frugal manner with the local resources and skills on hand. Hacking activities entail some form of excellence, for example exploring the limits of what is possible, thereby doing something exciting and meaningful.

The essence of a hack is that it is done quickly, efficiently and usually in an inelegant manner. Nevertheless, the unaccustomed result of the exploring activity evokes strong feelings of gratification. The start of each hacking process is a conflict between constraints from a dynamic environment and meaningful goals, activities and artifacts coming from human agents.

Within this philosophy D4E1 wants to illustrate the resourcefulness and self-reliance from a human perspective. The advent of networked computers and digital fabrication make it feasible that individuals which mainly fall out of the mainstream can produce or adapt their own unique tools. More often these hacks can even compete with the qualitative standards of mass-production coming from large factories. This perspective opens-up a complementary P2P-strategy as alternative to universal design which is more market-driven. We belief that open-ended design can be a powerful engine to create a requiste variety of new possibilites and solve the many wicked problems in our world.


Lieven De Couvreur

Industrial Product Design


Katrien De Schepper

Industrial Product Design


Anne Dejager

Occupational therapy


Matthias Van De Walle

Occupational therapy


Griet Eeckhout



Bart Grimonprez

Industrial Product Design


Photo Credits : Conny Meuris


  • Over 800 youth ages 18-20 have participated in our D4E1 community servirce learning programs in the last nine years, since 2009.
  • More than 200 open-ended assistive devices haven been created with local disabled citizins.
  • Bi-lateral agrement 2018 with Humanity & Inclusion Bolivia with the aim to build a local living lab.
  • The activities within the D4E1 living lab have led to the foundation of 2 minors, one called “adaptation & design” within the professional bachelor education program on occupational therapy and one called “open-ended design” within the professional bachelor education program on industrial product design within the University College West Flanders (Howest).
  • The practice based research on product hacking has led in 2016 to a Phd on "adapation by product hacking" incorporation with teh Medisign group at the TU delft, faculty of Industrial Design Engineering.
  • Laureate best poster awards on the 14th FEA Phd symposium 2013 at the University of Ghent.
  • The award for best paper at the Include Conference award 2011.
  • In 2010 was D4E1 acknowledged with the Design Management Europe ( DME) Award 2010 within the category ‘Best management of design in a public or non-profit organization’.
  • Many D4E1 projects particpated were acknowledged as laureates within the design with a heart competition by Humanity & Inclusion. 2010-2011-2012-2013-2014-2015 winner “design with a heart” competition category student-work.


Delft Institute for positive design

Prof. Pieter Desmet

Revalidatiecentrum UZ Gent

Hoofdergotherapeut Lode sabbe

Disability studies UGent

Prof. Geert van Hove & Katrien Demunck

Handicap International

Rehabilitation Advisor Graziella Lippolis

Open-ended design UGent

Dr. Francesca Ostuzzi & Prof. Jan Detand


Journal Papers

- Ostuzzi, F., De Couvreur, L., Detand, J., & Saldien, J. (2017). From Design for One to Open-ended Design. Experiments on understanding how to open-up contextual design solutions. The Design Journal, 20(sup1), S3873-S3883.

- Ostuzzi, F., Conradie, P., De Couvreur, L., Detand, J., & Saldien, J. (2016). The Role of Re-Appropriation in Open Design: A Case Study on How Openness in Higher Education for Industrial Design Engineering Can Trigger Global Discussions on the Theme of Urban Gardening. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 17(4).

-De Couvreur, L., Dejonghe, W., Detand, J., & Goossens R. H. M. (2013). The role of subjective well-being in co-designing open-design assistive devices. International Journal of Design, 7(3), 57-70.

-De Couvreur, L., & Goossens, R. (2011). Design for (every) one: co-creation as a bridge between universal design and rehabilitation engineering. CoDesign, 7(2), 107-121.


-De Couvreur, L. (2016). Adaptation by product hacking, A cybernetic design perspective on the co-construction of Do-It-Yourself assistive technology. TU Delft.

Book Chapter

- De Munck, K, De Couvreur, L., Laperre, D. , (2018). Co-design als methodiek voor differentiatie en participatie. In I. Van de putte & E. De Schauwer (Eds.) GOL(L)D concept: Gericht Ondersteunen van Leraren in het Leren omgaan met Diversiteit. (pp. 82-86) Academia Press .

-De Couvreur, L., Dejonghe ,W., De Munck, K., Detand, J. & Goossens,R. (2016). Faal samen, faal snel, faal beter! Een cybernetische benadering van participatie door ervaringsgerichte co-design. In G. Van Hove, M. Cardol & A. Schippers (Eds.), Disability Studies in de Lage Landen. Antwerpen: Garant .

-De Couvreur, L. Vollens,E. (2012). Thea schommelt. Ed/s. Beysen, A. De Lameillieure, A. Lenstra, R. Oskamp, J. ,Cecilia ‘s keuze - Ontwerpen met meerwaarde op basis van gebruikersinzichten (pp.82-86). Lannoo Campus.

Conference Papers

-De Couvreur, L., Detand, J., Dejonghe W. and Goossens R. (2012). Expect the unexpected, the co-construction of assistive artifacts. In Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Design & Emotion. London.

-De Couvreur, L., Detand, J. and Goossens, R., 2011. The role of flow experience in co-designing open-design assistive devices. In: Proceedings of the Include 2011 Conference. 18-20 April 2011. London

-De Couvreur, L., Goossens, R., 2010. Design for (every)one: Co-creation as a bridge between universal design and rehabilitation engineering. Codesign In Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Design & Emotion. Chicago.

-De Couvreur, L., Detand, J., Grimonprez, B., Mistiaen, B. (2009). Design for (every)one, Proceedings of designing pleasurable products and interfaces 2009 Conference, (pp. 340-348). Compiègne