Computational Design X Circular Economy

Early stage

incubation program

DRIVEN by Volumes

We are looking for ideas that could implement circular economy principles

by embedding advanced technologies from the initial concept design phase.



DRIVEN program overview

DRIVEN is an incubation program aiming to embed advanced computational design strategies in early stage entrepreneurship for a circular economy. We strongly believe such strategies and processes have a huge potential to redefine the entire production chain of our cities.

Computational design can play a crucial role in terms of material use awareness to optimize the flow of material and its economy, to organize its storage, transportation, and reassembly. These elements are usually not incorporated in the design phase but they have social implications and economic properties that could enrich a design’s value, scalability, impact, and agency.

The goal of the program is to trigger an awareness of using computational design to consider and put to action all the principles of a circular economy and to showcase built projects embedding such qualities realized as proof of concepts. These projects will act as precedents to help all start-up projects that follow in the pipeline.



DRIVEN is operated by VOLUMES creative and productive hub in Paris. Volumes is partner of EU Horizon 2020 Reflow project, which is focusing on co-creating circular resource flows in cities.

Within this context, Volumes selected specific projects that can respond to the Reflow challenges. These selected projects currently have free of charge access to the DRIVEN incubation program and its related workshops and events.


Our Challenges

We are currently investigating two different challenges

Credits : WAO architecture. Photo : Aurélien Chen


Wood Material Use Efficiency for Temporary Constructions

In an era of resource scarcity, we think design disciplines need to respond better to the circular economy of materials, addressing material scarcity and its possible reuse as a performance parameter in the design process.

We are especially interested in exploring applications for temporary architecture, meaning, a construction whose life spans between a couple of days to a couple of years that has a significant presence in urban ecosystems.


Urban Metabolism and Logistics

We aim to organize a more efficient material flow system through the adoption of new digital tools and algorithms such as machine learning in order to have a more coherent, optimized, and sustainable behaviour in terms of the use of materials and energies.

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash.



DRIVEN areas of knowledge

We want to support the investigation of such challenges through four areas of knowledge. The alchemy of DRIVEN is created by triggering unexpected and innovative connections between these areas of knowledge and the given challenges of different sectors.

Area of knowledge 1

Computational Design

Computational design can be generically described as a design method in which the output is generated by a set of rules or an algorithm. It incorporates data streams that can vary over space and time (parameters) and use those streams to inform and organize logical processes (algorithms). These processes ultimately determine groups of multiple geometric configurations that can be explored by the designer.

  • Computational design is a subject focused on applying computational approaches to specific design tasks, being a matter of representation, form, analysis, or aesthetics. Over the last few years, the introduction of computing in the field of architecture and design triggered a radical paradigm shift: from an idea of design as mere production of forms to the elaboration of processes that can ultimately generate forms. One of the most innovative and peculiar aspects of this continuous evolution is indeed the opportunity to consider computational techniques as a process to explore multiple design possibilities.

    In brief computational design is the change in the medium of design expression from geometry to logic.

Credits: “Unconventional Toolpath”
by Co-de-iT / Andrea Graziano – Image by Andrea Graziano

Area of knowledge 2

Computational Fabrication

Digital fabrication are production processes that combine the use of digital tools (3D modeling or CAD) with CNC (computer numerical control) machines for additive and subtractive manufacturing. These processes allow the automated control of machining tools by means of a computer.

  • Digital fabrication processes have been integrated into the industry for decades but in the last few years the introduction and gaining popularity of new design techniques, such as computational and parametric design, and increased availability and affordability of new production means.

    Machines such as CNC machines and 3D printers have led designers, architects, and engineers to rethink how their work and production is conceived and organized.

    Computational design triggered the mass customization of production processes, allowing them to be integrating into the design phase and creating opportunities to finally take full advantage of automation.

    That’s what we call computational fabrication.

Credits: “Decorative wood panels” – computational design by Co-de-iT, digital fabrication by Bruno DeMasi – Photo by Bruno DeMasi

Area of knowledge 3

Data Visualization

Data Visualization is defined as a visual and interactive exploration; the process of graphical representation of information and data by encoding it into visually graphic objects. The goal is to communicate information clearly and efficiently to users and to provide an accessible way to see and understand trends, outliers, and perceive patterns in data. Data visualization allows managers and decision-makers to identify phenomena and trends that are invisible in the data upon the first analysis.

In the age of big data, data visualization skills, tools, and technologies are essential to properly analyze the massive amounts of information out there to make data-driven decisions.

Credits: Urban Layer project by Morphocode

Area of knowledge 4

Machine Learning

The idea of artificial intelligence (AI) is not exactly new. Since the earliest stages of computation, people have imagined, hypothesized and worked with AI. With the increasing technological advancement, the growing computational power, our furthered understanding of the subject and access to data are pushing the possible implementations of AI in every aspect of our ‘digital life’. Exploring artificial intelligence and machine learning calls for a shift in our approach to solving design challenges. This lays the foundations for a new type of design and architecture.

How can we start implementing the use of these tools in the design and architecture fields? How can we take advantage of AI and its future developments to define a more aware and responsible design and manufacturing process?

Credits : Mateusz Zwierzycki



We are a passionate, distributed, small team across different countries

We are gathering a distributed team of experts in computational design, circular economy, and business innovation. We are professors, creative technologists, designers, researchers, entrepreneurs, engineers, makers.

Creative Director

Francesco Cingolani

Project Manager

Samantha Melnyk

Program Curator

Andrea Graziano

Advisory Board

Aldo Sollazzo



Starting at

690 € / month

  • Workshops
  • Mentorship
  • Partners connections
  • Pitch and Events
  • Options :
  • Coworking Space
  • Digital Fabrication
Get in touch
Driven by Volumes.

Online and Onsite incubation program.
More details coming before the summer.

We are currently incubating three start-ups for the beta version of DRIVEN. A call for projects to be on-boarded in September will come out before the summer. If you are interested in applying to DRIVEN, feel free to reach out to our team or check out our online workshops.