Meaningful Design connects

creativity with purpose.




What is Meaningful Design?

Meaningful Design is a novel initiative that aims to develop an holistic approach to innovation, education and research by integrating multiple disciplines in an experimental approach to design situated interventions through technology.


Developing Learning Experience

By developing learning experiences and impact-based projects in Bali and other parts of Indonesia, the Meaningful Design approach enables a creative tension between Local and Global, Traditional Crafts and Advanced Technologies, Innovation and Tradition, Development and Preservation, an many others, as an opportunity for agonism1 to fuel a transition to regenerative and productive ways of living. The Meaningful Design practice creates opportunities to experience transformation in first person, being active part of change in local communities while learning by impacting the self, the others, and the environment.


Connects Creativity with Purpose

Meaningful Design connects creativity with purpose. Our society is the most informed and connected in human history, and our technological development has enabled unimaginable benefits to the world, but at a high social and environmental cost. Design needs to connect back with our human nature to make the preservation of life in this planet one of its core objectives. The pathway to reinvent the way we design things, including non physical ones, is to experiment and prototype within diversity, and with a clear mission to improve the wellbeing of communities, while regenerating natural ecosystems. By integrating digital technologies in fabrication, Meaningful Design aims to empower individuals and communities with core skills of the 21st century. Technology development is possible at local scale, by building from global open source repositories of knowledge that could be applied to specific challenges, and that could be shared back once tested and evaluated locally.


Building a Multicultural Learning Platform

Meaningful Design is building a multicultural learning platform that is focused in creating opportunities for local communities and global visitors to address fundamental challenges through prototyping and experimentation in diverse contexts. Learning by doing is core to the Meaningful Design practice, as it integrates advanced technologies in digital fabrication with local craftmanship at many levels. Through the mix of these skills, a Meaningful Design practitioner is able to embody new ways of making that can shape different realities in the physical and the digital worlds. Creative learning in Meaningful Design connects the technical knowledge with the freedom of the arts and manifestation of emotions through making. 


Meaningful Design Group

Based in Bali (Indonesia), Meaningful Design Group (MDG) will integrate the local approach to life of the indigineous cultures at its core, by seeking the balance between human wellbeing, community development, and environmental regeneration (Tri Hita Karana). Tri Hita Karana is part of the fundamental philosophy of living of the Balinese people, and its meaning refers to three causes for prosperity. Prosperity is understood as the balance between the spiritual wellbeing, the social wellbeing, and the environmental wellbeing. MDG embeds the Tri Hita Karana philosophy in its programs, events, and projects in order to enhance the role of design and innovation in our society, and transcend the mono cultivation of economic growth, or GDP, in our global consciousness.

Our goal is to build an experimental playground for entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers to have the opportunity to prototype and test ideas in the real world in the Balinese and other Indonesian contexts, to confront and enrich their academic and professional practices to be an active part of transformation in local communities. It opens up the consideration for new cultural paradigms, economic models, sustainable development, and social diversity. MDG’s prototyping activities connect with the local needs of the Banjars (~300 families) (one of the core cells of community organization at the local level), Villages/Desa (~12 Banjars), and Regencies. At the Village level, Meaningful Design will look at integrating the principles of circular economy, community organization, and sustainability that are part of the Fab City Global Initiative.

Meaningful Design Group integrates learning happening in the field back to its research agenda in order to generate a new space for contributors to join such efforts.

At the national level, Meaningful Design Group will collaborate with Jimbaran Hijau, The Habibie Center, CAST Foundation, and Fab City Foundation, and other organizations in the implementation of the Meaningful Design principles in the Indonesian Archipelago ASEAN countries, and globally, as well as to build a collaborative network of research and innovation. With more than 17.000 Islands, Indonesia brings the opportunity to develop and test the core ideas connected with the Meaningful Design approach, such as Fab Labs, Fab Cities, Emergent Futures and Distributed Design, which aim to bring production closer to consumption in cities and regions, and to increase the resilience of communities to be capable of supplying locally their needs in terms of products, tools, food, and energy, without compromising the balance of their bioregions.

At the international level, Meaningful Design Group will bring strong partnerships with ASEAN and Austral-Asia countries as a priority, and will serve as a platform for other global initiatives, international talent and innovative solutions to land in Bali and Indonesia through our learning programs and impact agenda.

Meaningful Design Group will create the first Fab Lab in Bali, where digital fabrication technologies and distributed production models will provide a new set of tools, methodologies, and opportunities for supporting educational programs, entrepreneurial activities, and impact-based projects that aim to provide solutions to local communities. By hosting Fab Lab Bali and promoting Fab City locally, MDG will connect with more than 2000 digital fabrication labs that are part of the global initiative launched by MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms almost two decades ago. MDG will work in making Bali part of the Fab City Global Initiative by joining a network of 41 cities and regions, aiming to dramatically transform their productive model before 2054. 

Our work is fundamentally focused in supporting local communities to achieve:


Meaningful Design Group

Meaningful Design Group is a partnership established by :


Ilham Habibie

The Habibie Center


Wan Zaleha Radzi

CAST Foundation


Agung Prianta

Jimbaran Hijau


Tomas Diez

Fab City Foundation


Core Activities


Meaningful Design Group Agenda 2021-2022

  • Fab Lab Bali soft launch:
    October-December 2021

  • IAAC’s Master in Design for Emergent Futures - Research Trip: April 2022

  • Mondragon Team Labs - Learning Journey: May-June 2022

  • Fab City Summit 2022:
    October 2022

  • Master in Design for Distributed Innovation: Starting September 2022


Get in Touch..





    Griya JH, Jimbaran HUB
    Jl. Karangmas, Jimbaran Bali
    80361, Indonesia.