Systemic Design Exploration

The High Po Valley by (e)Gravel Bike

July 26th to August 1st 2021


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Learn, exchange, connect with like-minded people on cycling, industrial history, design for regeneration and entrepreneurial engagement.

Explore local sustainable development initiatives, wild nature, regional food and culture.

Develop ideas, methods and concepts to apply Systemic Design in job and life.

An inspiring journey for meeting conscious and engaged people – tailored to professionals, policy makers, students and anyone curious to explore the Italian Piedmont.

The trip’s goals – systemic design through cycling, experience, meeting the locals

The goal of this tour is to explore local developments in the field of sustainability and systemic design – from the past to the Now.

We meet people acting in bike and food culture, (young) creatives of local sustainable tourism and sustainable ventures in key sectors of the regional industry.

One aspect is to learn and experience what has been in the past industrial design history, who is behind the initiatives today and to exchange with these protagonists – meet the locals.

Throughout the week we employ design thinking, learning the “praxeology” of Systems Oriented Design (SOD). We visually map the impressions and questions of this tour, relate them with participants’ ideas and professional-private situations, then jointly design vision of future regeneration practices – ideas and thoughts for our own life and work, building a network of awareness.

Tortellini con Tartuffo, a classic in Piedmont

The offer in a nutshell

Experience sustainable futures of regional economics through sports, design and regenerative practices: one week of gravel cycling with like-minded pals alongside some of the rich industrial history around the High Po River Valley in the Piedmont mountains between Turin and Monte Viso.

Together with exciting new friends we explore the history and the future of regional economic, social and ecological systems by bicycle and by hands-on doing. For example, we will cycle for some hours, enjoy a coffee or tea in a small local cafe, then learn how traditional stone workers split the local “pietra luserna” by hand into the traditional “lose” roof shingles – by finding weak layers in the stone guided by color, resembling different minerals entering the rock in its geological building process. We will actually get the chance to use the tools and split this amazing stone ourselves.

Interaction with locals, bike culture, food, industrial history, and the new – new entrepreneurial energy, shared success stories, systemic synergies.

Culminating with our destination around the latest state of systemic design research and experimentation at a leading real-world laboratory, the MonViso Institute.

Where and why

Valle di Po is the origin of Po river and the rivers itself is the lifeline of the Italien North, the Pianura Padana.

The area of Piedmont is famous for its food and culture. However, design culture and and high tech industry are located there too, and always were. So as the origins of sustainable development with Slow Food as one example. The MontViso Institute, a real-world mountain laboratory for sustainability transitons and regenerative design, seated high above the Po valley, will be our destination to reach on our design tour by bike

How we explore and why

Riding a bike is known as the childs first real liberation and self experience – do you still remember riding the first meters without support?

Riding a bike allows us to go further than by foot, but still opens the space to get related to the environment and nature. And, last but not least, to us.

This is why we ride by bike.

It is not about extreme sports, it is about a way of being en route in a conscious way.

Industrial history – systemic design themes 

stone – from the excavation to local artisan roofs and walls

organic agriculture and slow food

hemp systems – from food to fibers to building insulation to medicine

trade – the oldest tunnel of the Alps for salt trading

limestone and building culture

tourism – Saluzzo history to mountain 4season diversity

local organic “circular” brewery beer tasting

interbeing with community resilience and a circular economy

real-world laboratory experimentation

The tour finish will be at the MontVisio Institute on 1500m asl.

Nestled high above the Po valley as part of the Ostana village, we enjoy great views to Monte Viso, the highest peak in the Southern Alps.

The MontViso Institute is being rebuilt from the stonewalls of an abandoned hamlet and is a real-world example for systemic design and regeneration practice itself.

It will be our place to sum up our week: joint visual “Gigamapping” design to wrap up the experiences and ideas of the week – how do all these topics relate with each other? What are systemic relations and synergies? What follows from this to future visions and practices in the Now? For the region, for our own lifes?

And it will be the place to relax, to cook and enjoy local food and Pizza together on the outdoor wood stove and fire pit, and to fade out the trip.

Future is Now


New insights.


This is part

of our tour.


to build up relations.

Relations for the future

to progress on our own journeys.

The tour

Bike design stages

Day 1 July 26th: Arrival via Turin to Pinerolo in the late afternoon – slow food and bike culture evening

Day 2 July 27th: Pinerolo to Barge – stone

Day 3 July 28th: Barge via Carmagnola to Saluzzo – organic agriculture, hemp, tourism heritage

Day 4 July 29th: Saluzzo via Piasco to Melle – limestone, organic beer, local music and bike youth culture

Day 5 July 30th: Melle via Pian Muné to Ostana – 4season mountain tourism

Day 6 July 31st: Resting and synergizing with systemic design in Ostana – visual thinking, open air wooden pizza oven fest

Day 7 Aug 1st: Slow departure back to Pinerolo by bike or transport

Bike guides – sustainability scientists, systemic designers, cycling enthusiasts

Martin Schütz. Bike frame design pioneer with 20+ years experience. Industrial designer with focus product development. Engineering design lecturer at ETH Zurich (Federal Institute of Technology) and ZHdK (Zurich Arts University).

Tobias Luthe. PhD. Professor for resilience, sustainability, systemic design at AHO (Oslo School of Architecture and Design) and ETH Zurich. Mountaineering guide with 20 years of experience. Co-founder of Grown/Design with Nature and the MonViso Institute.

Quick tour facts

What is included?

  • Food: breakfast, lunch and dinner  (full pension)
  • Accommodation of various types (BnB, Rfiguio, Rustico) in twin rooms (single room possible on extra costs)
  • Bike guiding
  • Science design tutoring
  • Local guiding by locals
  • Entry fees for some of our day explorations
  • Transport of luggage from/to Pinerolo/Ostana
  • Transfer back to Pinerolo (for those who don’t cycle back)
  • Photography documentation

What is not included?

  • Arrival and return from Pinerolo
  • Bike (bring your own bike preferably; rental is possible)
  • Extra snacks and extra alcoholic beverages

Total Cost

  • 1290.- Euro

What to bring? Personal requirements?

  • Your bike: mountain bike, gravel bike, touring bike, e-bike (mostly on road, gravel, and some mountain paths). Local rental is possible but advisable is to bring your own bike.
  • Equipped with a rear rack or/and bike packing bags, so that personal goods can be transported
  • Detailed packing list will follow upon registration
  • Fitness: cycling of up to 80km distance and 200m elevation gain; the last stage is the most challenging with 40km and 1700m elevation change. But we have time that day….;)
  • Mindset: curious, culturally open, explorative, ready to discover beyond comfort zones

Contact, questions and booking:

Booking by email

Phone +41765686442 as well per Whatsapp, Signal, Facebook messanger (contact Tobias Luthe)