1990. On the strength of its many years of activities in the field, the office has grown − now boasting a multigenerational, interdisciplinary team of partners and other operators. MdAA’s main strength lies in its ability to seamlessly combine an impressive record of accomplishment in the construction field with innovatory capacities aligned with the contemporary cultural scene. These characteristics are the fruit of an experimental approach to the work at hand, backed up by ongoing ties with external players within the research ambit (Sapienza University) and from the world of the contemporary arts.
Founder, Creative Director
Massimo d’Alessandro is the founder and Creative Director of MdAA.
The architect, designer and university professor, Massimo d’Alessandro, entered the design world through his experience in the field of radical architecture in Rome, as a leading light of Studio STASS. As an associate of many major artists, d’Alessandro’s links to the world of contemporary arts have a long history. He conducted in-depth studies of environmental architecture applied to the sphere of wine production. His life has at all times reflected his openness to − and a passionate interest in − our contemporary world, leading him to engage in activities of the first order, as part of his obsessive search for absolute quality.
Between 1965 and 1977 he was a member of Studio STASS, alongside Giorgio Ciucci and Mario Manieri-Elia, and he first came into contact with the contemporary art world during this period. He opened a gallery in 1974 and was joined by Ugo Ferranti a year later. Thanks to its many international contacts (R. Morris, Schifano, D. Buren, G. Paolini, R. Tuttle etc.), the D’ALESSANDRO-FERRANTI gallery became a national and international point of reference during the three-year 1975-78 period. D’Alessandro then dedicated his energies for a decade solely to teaching and scientific research. He therefore left the design office and gallery. However, he remained uninterruptedly a leading figure in the world of art, as collector and consultant, what with the cordial relations and exchanges he maintained with a number of artists who were highly renowned internationally (Schifano, Boetti, Shapiro, Paolini, Tuttle, etc.) as well as major galleries (Sperone, Mazzoli, Nosei, Gladsone, etc.). Starting in 2004, for about a decade, he was a member of the technical committee of the Archivio Mario Schifano to which the task was delegated of certifying the authenticity of works.
In 1977, he was appointed professor of industrial design, joining the teaching staff of the faculty of architecture of Sapienza University in Rome, where he taught and conducted research for about 40 years. During these years, he created and coordinated the Dottorato di ricerca (PhD) in architectural technology and industrial design (Tecnologia dell’Architettura e Disegno Industriale). He has been the director of the Dipartimento di Industrial Design Tecnologie dell’Architettura e Cultura dell’Ambiente, and Coordinator of Courses on Interior, Exhibit e Public Design. He has been responsible for research projects on methods of design in relation to technological development, and regarding certain key moments in the story of Italian design. In 1988, he was one of the winners of the competition among university professors for extension work on the architecture faculty. He returned to design work and founded MdAA Architetti Associati, for which he remains the creative director. His most important works are published in many Italian and foreign reviews.
Paolo Pannocchi, a longstanding partner of MdAA, is its Operations Manager. For nearly three decades, Pannocchi has been working alongside Massimo d’Alessandro at their office. As an architect and designer, Pannocchi has acquired considerable experience in the field of territorial-scale planning, in keeping with his great interest in the development − from the historical and town-planning angles − of the major European cities and of the city of Rome. Pannocchi is a native of Rome, the city that provides the backdrop to his life, and a subject to which he has dedicated deep study.
In 1982, his professional career began with design and upgrading work on sites of historic interest in Rome. In 1987, he was a member of the group of designers working on the Fontana Massimina and Giardino di Ponte Milvio, two winning projects submitted for the competition for upgrading a number of parkland areas of Rome’s centre. Alongside these activities, he engaged in interior design and in design of items of furnishing. He became a partner of MdAA in 1990 and, to this day, he supervises various stages of the works, from the early planning stages through to completion. Among these various projects, Pannocchi coordinated territorial-scale projects, including the Nuova Sede di zona di Ama (new local offices of Ama) at Tor di Quinto (2000), restoration and extension of Borgo Syrah at Manzano (2008) and the new Soter building in Lecce (work in progress).
Pannocchi has also worked on projects in the field of healthcare provision: expansion of the Policlinico Umberto I hospital and work for the AIL and Gimema non-profit organisations. He acted as co-examiner of the degree thesis “umanizzazione dello spazio di cura, progetto per un centro di ematologia pediatrica” (humanization of an area for care provision, project for a paediatric haematology centre) at the faculty of architecture at the ROMA TRE university. During his career he has maintained close ties with the academic world. Between 1990 and 1994, he was responsible for the course, Storia urbanistica di Roma (city planning history of Rome) at Libera Università “UPTER”. His collaboration with Sapienza University at the architecture faculty began in 1993, where he taught industrial design alongside Massimo d’Alessandro until 2003. In 2004, he headed the modelling course for the Atelier di Disegno 3.
Partner, Project & Contruction Manager
Maria Cagnoni, an MdAA partner, is MdAA’s Project & Construction Manager. She coordinates the Works Management stage of the more complex projects, overseeing the work of contractors. She manages the contractual and economic relations between principals and enterprises. Ever since she as a young girl, building sites have been a part of her life and a sort of second home. Indeed, her father Maurizio is a well-known works manager and a longstanding partner of this office. Maurizio has been her mentor and has taught her all the hands-on ‘tricks of trade’ (as well as the formalities side of this business).
Cagnoni started work during her studies, after which, she worked as a self-employed professional designer and works manager. She first teamed up with MdAA in 2006 and became a partner in 2012. Between 1995 and 1999, she was assistant to the works manager and the officer responsible for the procedures of the Ufficio Speciale per la realizzazione dell’Auditorium del Comune di Roma (special office for construction of the Auditorium of the Municipality of Rome). In 2002 Cagnoni worked with the Zagari office on the project that won the competition for upgrading work on the seafront/promenade in the old city centre of Trieste (Riqualificazione delle Rive). In 2009 she worked on static inspection and technical and administrative control for the new Bibliotheca Hertziana of the Max Planck Gesselschaft in Rome. In 2010, she took part in management of the call for tenders for the new Bibliotheca Hertziana of the Max Planck Gesselschaft. In 2011, together with Maurizio Cagnoni, on behalf of Finmeccanica FGRE, she completed technical and administrative control for the renovation work on “Hangar A” located at Tessera. In 2012-2013 she acted as assistant during technical and administrative control both during and on completion of the works for the TASI industrial plant at L’Aquila.
Partner, Concept Design Leader
Susanna Mirza, an MdAA partner, is MdAA’s Concept Design Leader. As an architect, and with her PhD in technology of architecture and industrial design, Mirza engages in research and development of early planning at the ideas stage of projects. She also handles communications and external relations for the office. She worked for more than a decade in the academic ambit of the Sapienza University (Rome). She has always been passionately interested in the evolution of thought. She reads with great interest all kinds of non-fiction texts (scientific works in particular).
In 2002, she won a scholarship for a Dottorato di Ricerca (research MA) at the Sapienza University (Rome), and she started up her activities at the Dipartimento di Industrial Design Tecnologia dell’Architettura e Cultura dell’Ambiente (DATA–PDTA) of the architecture faculty, where, for a decade, she was active in the fields of Interior, Exhibit and Public Design, and semantic and expressive application to projects of new materials and technologies. In 2009, she won the Assegno di Ricerca (research scholarship) for “Innovazione di processo e di prodotto nell’area del design” (process and product innovation in the area of design). Mirza has curated various publications regarding these issues and has written many articles in specialist reviews. Over and above her research activities, she has acted as a teacher and coordinator. Between 2003 and 2012, she was adjunct professor of the Atelier di Progettazione of the industrial design degree course of Sapienza University. During these years, she teamed up with Professor Massimo d’Alessandro to coordinate and organise the teaching activities of all Interior, Exhibit and Public Design workshops inhering in the degree course.
Alongside her academic career, Mirza embarked on her professional career as an architect, working mainly on interior design and conversion and extension work on existing buildings. Between 2005 and 2009, she was project leader for recovery of Castello Guglielmi on Lake Trasimeno and its conversion into a structure for accommodating tourists. Between 2013 and 2017, she was project leader for Meps Energia e Ambiente for the construction of offices, research laboratories and pharmaceutical production (Okairos Reithera) at the Tecnopolo of Pomezia. In 2016, she consolidated her long track record of collaboration with MdAA by becoming an MdAA partner. In 2017, she was Responsabile Scientifico (scientific officer) of the company, We-Trade, for the research and training project with Sapienza University, “Italy@China: innovative scenarios for Interior and Exhibit Design…” dedicated to exchanges between Italy and China.
Partner, Project & Tecnologies leader
Antonio Luchetta, an MdAA partner, is MdAA’s Project & . He develops the technologically complex elements of all MdAA’s projects. As an architect and designer, and on the strength of his extensive knowledge of the technology of architecture, he dedicates his attention to development in detail, proposing executive solutions of remarkable elegance and originality. His curiosity becomes boundless when considering the constructional inventions of objects. In his spare time, he uses unusual and recycled materials to make lamps.
Luchetta joined MdAA in 1997 following his studies. He immediately made a name for himself as a reliable provider of technical solutions and for the controlled elegance he is capable of in his architectural detail work. He was therefore called in to contribute to the executive design and work-site preparation for many projects under consideration, including various vinification cellars, Telecom cabins (in compound glass) and the pedestrian bridge at Villa Doria Pamphili, developed with Ove Arup & Partners. Between 2000 and 2004 he assisted Massimo d’Alessandro during the latter’s industrial design course at the faculty of architecture at the Sapienza University (Rome).
Partner, Project Leader
Francesco Sorrentino, an MdAA partner, is MdAA’s Project Leader. He is the prime mover at the office, and a capable, concrete planner. He manages the development stage of complex projects. He also coordinates the activities of all professionals involved in the work. His dual character (in his spare time he enjoys restoring objects, including furniture) frequently emerges in a poetic element that enriches his skills base.
Sorrentino began work while still a university student. He began work with MdAA in 2004, and became a partner in 2016. From the very start, he was particularly involved in the final and executive stages of works. He also manages the office’s relations with public administration bodies, and follows up the various the various stages of approval of projects. He acts as safety coordinator during the design and execution stages. He is currently the project leader for urban upgrading of the old “Campofranco” lot (4,000 sq. m.) of the A2 zone in the old city centre of Bolzano (where the site opened in 2017, and for which MdAA won the invitation-based ideas competition “Palais Campofranco” announced by Ca.Do.Ma. Srl in 2016).