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About us

The Academy

The Symbiotic Design Academy is at the forefront of innovation in various fields, with a commitment to continuous improvement and growth. Our unique approach to design education encompasses social, environmental, technological, organizational and economic aspects to create an innovative and sustainable learning experience.


On the social front, the Academy will encourage collaboration and co-creation between designers and relevant stakeholders of new courses, workshops and supporting documents. This innovative approach fosters a deeper understanding of social problems and the development of inclusive solutions that prioritize well-being, community resilience, and social equity.


The Academy is also innovating in its operational and organizational processes. By embracing digital learning, we provide accessible education to a wide range of people, breaking down geographic and socioeconomic barriers. This ensures greater reach and impact in the global design community, promoting sustainable and inclusive design practices.


Our business model focuses on the holistic integration of environmental, social and economic dimensions, an innovative approach that differentiates the Academy from traditional design schools. Sustainability is not only present in the content taught at the academy, but is embedded in its DNA. The online format reduces overall costs and allows for affordable and accessible education while minimizing our environmental footprint.


In terms of technological innovation, the Symbiotic Design Academy itself is a disruptive approach to teaching design, allowing designers to address complex challenges anywhere they might be in this rapidly changing world. Our courses are continually updated to incorporate the latest technological advances, tools, models and strategies, equipping designers to stay at the forefront of their respective fields. Collaboration with companies and government entities will be encouraged to generate appropriate content for various realities.


The Academy's environmental focus encourages the development of sustainable design solutions that minimize negative ecological impacts. Our teaching methods emphasize circularity, green design and resource optimization, helping students understand the broader implications of their design choices and encourage positive change.

Recognizing the importance of research and development, the Academy is founded on extensive research in Design, and as such will invest in the continuous improvement of our educational offerings and design methodologies. A significant portion of our budget will be allocated to these demands to ensure cutting-edge approaches and content are consistently researched and implemented.


Innovation is a core value within our organization, shaping all aspects of our operations and educational offerings. By embracing innovation across the board, Symbiotic Design Academy is poised to have a positive and lasting impact on the design industry, addressing pressing social and environmental challenges and fostering sustainable economic growth.

What characterizes us the most as an institution, is our work's ethics. We know we are lucky and that we've had opportunities that others have not experienced. As such we are open to share our knowledge and well-being with others. For this reason, we have started a scholarship program to expand these experiences with our peers. 


If you want to know more, support or benefit from our scholarship program, visit this page.

Supported by:

During the brief period of the Academy's existence, it has received indirect financial aid from the NextGeneration fund of the European Community through the Kit Digital (support for the digitalization of projects) and Llamp (business accelerator) programs.

It has also received the distinction of being a Friend to the New European Bauhaus and was invited to participate as an exhibitor at the New European Bauhaus Festival in Brussels and to hold a workshop during the same event.

To learn more we invite you to review our news page

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The Founder
logos etapas

I'm Gonzalo Raineri, designer & architect with a Masters degree in Environmental Studies and Bioclimatic architecture and a PhD in Design. The logos above represent the different Design studios I’ve owned, representing more than 35 years in which I have been dreaming Design. I consider myself as a proactive entrepreneur in new trend media, creating the first Film Animation Festival, first cyber café, first 100% visual magazine and first ECO friendly eshop in Chile. I also designed social bioclimatic housing. Worked for companies and organisations in Santiago, Minneapolis, Amsterdam, Dublin, Madrid, and now in Valencia. You name it, I have done it.


But during all this years, something was missing. Around seven years ago, my feelings towards Design were reaching a level of unrest and disconformity. I had been trying to be an ethical and sometimes environmental designer, but the system was not receptive, so I stopped receiving any further commissions, closed my studio and enrolled myself in a PhD program. You can call it mid life crisis or enlightenment, I’d rather use the term evolution.

Up to that moment I had gained two degrees, five postgraduate diplomas and a masters degree searching for answers, finding a meaning to what I was doing. But entering the Phd program shifted my perspective form being a solution maker to a situational creator. Now, I believe that Designers, good designers are the ones that do the right questions. By doing the right questions, Design as a discipline has the ability to take distance from his time and finally respond to the troubled times we are living.

My actual goal is to work with institutions and organizations that have the ability and power to visualise and modify the future, making all people’s lives better. Social and environmental responsibilities must be their fundamental ethos. I wish to work in places that encourage their communities to bring out the best in them, presenting the opportunities to do so.


Recently I have become a mentoring partner with Climate-KIC, Label Sessions, EIT Community NEB mentors and advisors for Scooby Collective.

2016-2021 • PhD in Design , Universidad de Palermo, Buenos Aires Argentina | 2013 • Design Thinking Action Lab, Standford University through NovoEd. | 2013 • Post-graduate Diploma in University Curriculum Design for the Management of the Teaching and Learning Process, Universidad Finis Terrae, Santiago, Chile | 2007 • Master in Environmental Studies and Bioclimatic Architecture, Polytechnic University of Madrid, Superior School of Architecture, Madrid, Spain. | 2006 • Post-graduate Diploma in Sustainable Architecture, UNIACC University, Santiago, Chile. | 2002-2006 • Architecture, UNIACC University, Santiago, Chile. | 2001-2002 • Post-graduate Diploma in Administration and Business Management, ILADES, Alberto Hurtado Jesuit University, Santiago, Chile. | 1997 • Post-graduate Diploma in Design and Interactive Multimedia Production, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, School of Design, Santiago, Chile. | 1994 • Intensive Course of Dutch, Amsterdam College, Amsterdam, Holland. | 1993 • Computer Graphic Design: Introduction to Graphic Area, Catholic University of Chile, Santiago, Chile. | 1990 – 1991 • Paint System Video, Digital Animation, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, EE.UU. | 1984-1991 • Degree in Design, specialized in Visual Communication, Professional Institute of Santiago, Santiago, Chile. | 1988 • Intensive Film Course: 16mm, Chilean – North American Cultural Institute, Santiago, Chile. | 1983 • Failed Architecture student – Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile. | 1970-1982 • Dreamer studentThe International School Nido de Aguilas, Santiago, Chile. | 1965-1970 • The youngest hippie ever, Santiago, Chile.

Member of:

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Academic outcomes

The following are some of the academic work that has preceded the Symbiotic Design Framework.

PhD THESIS Autopoietic design:illumination and characterization of design from the perspective of the theory of autopoiesis.


Universidad de Palermo
Buenos Aires Argentina


As a way of thinking about design in a more harmonious relationship with its environment, this document proposes an approach from the world of biology, specifically, from the work of Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, who developed the concept of Autopoiesis, which initiated a new paradigm in the definition of what characterizes living beings. For them, autopoietic systems are those that create, reproduce, and repair their own boundaries, components, and organization.

It is well known that design is a discipline that has been specializing and concentrating on increasingly narrow aspects of the phenomena it deals with. He self-imposes partial visions of his actions and his environment and, therefore, has been losing the capacity for holistic observation and analysis that he once had. For this reason, a bibliographical review and an international survey were carried out in search of evidence that would allow characterizing its borders, components and organization. This allowed the design to be illuminated to be understood as an autopoietic system. In this process, seven essential components were identified in the observed tests, and their organization gives rise to a systemic design framework; These components are: Human component or the referential dimension, Transitional component or the time dimension, Allopoietic component or the physical dimension, Operational component or the procedural dimension, Observational component or the cybernetic dimension, Teleological component or the causal dimension and the Relational component or the spatial dimension.

This new organization allows design to define clear disciplinary limits, regulating its response within those parameters, in order to guarantee continuity in its operation, through the generation of a production that is integrated into its ecological niche. A deep understanding of design guarantees sustainability in your actions.

Download the full thesis here in Spanish.

Autopoietic design; seven components for a sustainable future design model.

June, 2021

Maturana and Varela in 1973 declared that an autopoietic unit is the one that creates, reproduces, and repairs its own components and organization. The last two hundred years, humankind has generated an unprecedented technological development. Unfortunately, it has broken the balance of the biosphere, leading to a new geological change, the Anthropoccene. Design must assume its share of responsibility. It is clear that the practical theoretical model assumed so far is not working, it is necessary to make a paradigm shift. By appropriating a methodology born in biology and created to determine whether we are facing an autopoietic entity, design seeks new ways of understanding oneseed and thus being able to have a more sustainable action. This research suggests that contemporary sustainable design, understood as a systemic model anchored in the theory of autopoiesis, will constitute a methodological theoretical tool that will allow a more harmonious link with the environment.

Download here.

Pasado, Presente y Futuro del Diseño en Latinoamérica

Past, Present and Future of Design in LatinAmerica.


November, 2020


Online symposium I organized with many of Latin American CUMULUS members. We talked and discussed about design as a discipline, it's history and the opportunities we see in our future.

To watch the videos (in Spanish) visit this playlist.

Moda, Ética y Diseño, relaciones complejas

Fashion, ethics and design; complex relationships Webinar

Sep 24, 2020

There are situations within the design that complicate its development and fashion is one of them. What are the factors that should support this relationship, which has been maintained for decades and is now beginning to show symptoms of rupture? Fashion by definition implies change, renewal, discarding. However, this contrasts with the paths that Design is leading towards non-obsolescence. Should Design or Fashion adapt? Should they follow parallel paths? Is Fashion Really Design? What are the power struggles that are taking place?

See video here (in spanish)

CADi 2020: Reemergencias


Sep 17, 2020
Facultad de Arte y Diseño, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú

I participated in CADi 2020: Reemergences in panel 2: Design and Contemporary Society.

CADi is the Design Congress that integrates Diffusion and Research in Latin America, organized by the Design Specialties of the PUCP.

In the midst of this difficult world situation, CADi remains firm in its conviction and mission to integrate Diffusion and Research in Design at the Latin American level and re-emerges as a sign that design adapts and finds opportunities to innovate in adversity.

Download Congress proceedings here.

Why it is important to study design today?

Sept 19, 2020
Indoamérica University, EcuadorThe question

Why it is important to study design today? has different answers according to the historical moment in which it is carried out, and has answers depending on who and where it is carried out. In this talk I gave to future design students, I present the complex challenges they are facing today. I hope through my words, I have conveyed some responsibility for their future actions.

View the speech here(in spanish)

What is design today?

Jul 30, 2019
XIV Encuentro Latinoamericano de Diseño, Universidad de Palermo, Buenos Aires

The General Theory of System and its derivatives is presented as a concrete possibility that would allow a paradigm shift in Design. The tradition of this discipline, like that of most others, has maintained a mechanistic view of its constituent components, which ended up limiting its disciplinary evolution and preventing it from fulfilling its ultimate purpose.

Newsletter Guest Editor for a special issue of “Design 4 all India” with the theme "Design & Misery".


Jul 1, 2019
Design for all Institute of India

I was invited to be guest editor for an issue of the Newsletter Design for All of India. It was a great honor but also a great challenge since I decided to center the editorial work in a theme that is usually hidden, MISERY. Poor people are not in the center of today's design discussions either in academic, main stream or social media. I deeply hope this is just the starting point and many others start looking at the unseen.

Download publication here

Autopoietic design, as a sustainability formula.


Nov 14, 2018
XIV Simposio Internacional del Posgrado en Artes y Diseño y el 1er Coloquio Interdisciplinario de Diseño, Postgrado en Artes y Diseño, Universidad Autonoma de Mexico

Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela in 1973 declared that an autopoietic unit is one that creates, reproduces, and repairs its own components and organization. The purpose of the speech is to feel invited to think design in terms of its components, organization, structure, border and variable contexts. Thus in the future it will be possible to differentiate which processes in design respond to an autopoietic logic and which do not. Restructuring the corresponding categories and components in design to those present in the theory of autopoiesis, will help decipher if having a design process through an autopoietic organization could allow for a more sustainable way of creation. Further more than the design process whose action is based on disciplinary tradition.

Published a Book Chapter based on this speech. Download here.

Publication date: October 2019
Book Title: Las Artes y el Diseño frente a un mundo complejo. Una reflexión a 50 años del inicio de los estudios de posgrado en artes y diseño en la UNAM.
Chapter: El Diseño Autopoiético como fórmula de sostenibilidad.
ISBN: 978-607-30-2184-5

Sustainable Autopoietic Design, is it possible?


Jul 31, 2018, Congreso Latinoamericano de Enseñanza del Diseño

Facultad de Diseño y Comunicación, Universidad de Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

An abstract of my PhD Thesis was presented.

Poiesis and cultural appropriation


Jul 31, 2018
Congreso Latinoamericano de Enseñanza del Diseño, Facultad de Diseño y Comunicación, Universidad de Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Speech in the Local and Regional Identities Commission. In the video linked you can see me talking about the commission's conclusions (in spanish)

You can view the video here


Comparison of design education according to the views of Gropius and Buchanan


Jan 1, 2017

Walter Gropius and Richard Buchanan, within a span of 100 years had the same question. What is the best way to teach design? In this article, a comparison of the main ideas developed by this two educators shows they had many issues in common, but as well many diverging ones. *This paper is bilingual English & Spanish and published in Revista Base #2

You can download it at Researchgate.

Multimedia: digital interactivity

Dec 1, 2002
Escuela de Diseño, FAAD, Universidad Diego Portales

Way back in 2002 this was a short reflection of what interactive media was. I coined the term liquid information in my classes and incorporated into this short essay, where I described the intention of my course then. This is the first time I rumbled aorunf the idea of searching for a local identity in design.

You can download it at Researchgate.

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