Doctoral thesis defence: Etienne Gernez

Etienne Gernez will defend his PhD thesis "HUMAN-CENTRED, COLLABORATIVE, FIELD-DRIVEN SHIP DESIGN" at AHO on August 23rd.

Trial lecture: 10.00  Reflections on OPAR as a framework for User Experience (UX) driven design of public spaces in different ship types
Defence: 12.00


Current ship design processes suffer from two problems. First, the experiences of crew that operate ships are not included in the design process. Second, the collaboration between the different participating designers is not facilitated in the process. As a consequence, the frameworks for understanding the separate parts of ship design can be hard to share across disciplinary gaps. This is especially important between the technical expertise of the ship designers and the operational experience of the end-users.
Human-centred design methods can help addressing these two problems. In particular, ethnography-based methods such as field study observation and analysis can inform the design of ships from the perspective of how ship crew operate them, and how the ship designers design them. Through an experimental introduction of such methods in actual ship design cases, I reframe ship design as a human-centred, collaborative, field-driven process that facilitates the interactions of the different participants to the design process, from the ship designers to the ship end-users.

Etienne Gernez is an engineer with experience in multidisciplinary projects related to ship design and operation. In parallel Etienne has worked with ocean grassroots projects such as “Protei – open source sailing drones” and “The Urban Floating Farmers Association”. Etienne is a graduate from the University of Bordeaux (France), University of Southampton (UK), and the University Centre of the Westfjords (Iceland) respectively in Numerical modeling, Maritime Engineering Sciences, and Coastal and Marine Resources Management.


Kjetil Nordby, Institute of Design, AHO. 

Adjudication Committee

  • First opponent – Associate Professor and coordinator Jonathan Earthy,  Lloyd’s Register Global Technology Centre, UK. 

  • Second opponent – Doktor of Arts and project manager Markus Ahola, Aalto University Finland. 

  • Third member og coordinator – Associate Professor Hanne Cecilie Geirbo (Oslo Met / AHO), Norway


Date: 23. August, 2019
Time: 10:00 am

Venue: AHO - A2 (Sverre Fehn Auditorium)
Address: Maridalsveien 29, 0175 Oslo

Contact: Marianne Fredhjem