UNSCRIPTED with Marco Piva: In search of the new

On UNSCRIPTED, the founder of the '80s experimental practice STUDIODADA, Marco Piva, puts a spotlight on his idiosyncrasies and the life beyond the role of an architect.

by Zohra KhanPublished on : Dec 31, 2021

Marco Piva (b. 1952), Milanese architect and founder of one of the most influential design studios of the Radical Period—STUDIODADA—gives us a candid peek into his life where we discover the traveller and educator side of him, and the creative side not known to many. Did you know that Piva has worked in 77 cities across the world? Or that sailing is his go-to physical activity to calm the mind? We bet you didn’t know his favourite café in Milan, or the fashion brand he closely associates with! A firm believer that success is about following one’s dreams even if one is not on the front page of every design magazine, Piva gets up close with STIR in this 18-minute video where he chats about the influence of Milan on his upbringing, memorable encounters from his student days at the Politecnico di Milano , and creative disciplines that inspire him.

  • Marco Piva with his wife Sarah Gabaglio, 2003 | UNSCRIPTED | Videos | STIRworld
    Marco Piva with his wife Sarah Gabaglio, 2003 Image: © Studio Marco Piva
  • Marco Piva with his daughter and wife, 2020| UNSCRIPTED | Videos | STIRworld
    Marco Piva with his daughter and wife, 2020 Image: © Studio Marco Piva
  • Studio Marco Piva team | UNSCRIPTED | Videos | STIRworld
    Studio Marco Piva team Image: © Studio Marco Piva

Piva calls himself "an old guy who likes people and stays with people”. He feels he has always been “the lucky one”, the reason being that his parents – a couple comprising exceptionally contrasting individuals – took him on extraordinary adventures through Italy when he was a kid. “What I really appreciate about my parents,” Piva says, “is that they took us through extreme holidays, looking for small and unknown places. Every time my mother and father would tell me, “Look at the beauty of this landscape, the beauty of the architecture, the beauty of the city and its museums.” His father originally belonged to Venice while mother was from Sicily. A big mix up, as he describes their marriage, Piva shares on UNSCRIPTED how he would always find the pair amusing, “I don’t know how they stayed together. My father was more romantic and open to a very free life, while my mother had more of a classic approach to life.”

  • STUDIODADA members - Ada Alberti, Dario Ferrari, Patrizio Corno, Maurizio Maggi, Marco Piva, and Paolo Francesco Piva | UNSCRIPTED | Videos | STIRworld
    STUDIODADA members - Ada Alberti, Dario Ferrari, Patrizio Corno, Maurizio Maggi, Marco Piva, and Paolo Francesco Piva Image: © Studio Marco Piva
  • Excelsior Hotel Gallia in Milan by Studio Marco Piva. 2015| UNSCRIPTED | Videos | STIRworld
    Excelsior Hotel Gallia in Milan by Studio Marco Piva. 2015 Image: © Studio Marco Piva
  • The Shape of the Wind in Caofeidian Tangshan, China by Studio Marco Piva. 2017| UNSCRIPTED | Videos | STIRworld
    The Shape of the Wind in Caofeidian Tangshan, China by Studio Marco Piva. 2017 Image: © Studio Marco Piva
  • Magic Cave for Citco by Studio Marco Piva. 2019| UNSCRIPTED | Videos | STIRworld
    Magic Cave for Citco by Studio Marco Piva. 2019 Image: © Studio Marco Piva
  • Aria lamp for Reflex by Studio Marco Piva. 2020 | UNSCRIPTED | Videos | STIRworld
    Aria lamp for Reflex by Studio Marco Piva. 2020 Image: © Studio Marco Piva

While his parents sparked his curiosity to seek beauty in its lair, it was while immersing himself in architectural education that he found his true calling. In 1977, during the third year of university, Piva and his five friends (Ada Alberti, Dario Ferrari, Patrizio Corno, Maurizio Maggi, and Paolo Francesco Piva) founded STUDIODADA - an experimental practice that looked at a new vision of designing interiors and realising the potential of 'computer assisted drafting' in managing design projects. Revolutionising the practice of architecture for many years, the studio, however, was closed in 1989 and the following year, Piva founded his independent eponymous practice rooted in material research and design innovation. Defined as 'an academy of sciences more than an architecture and design firm', the 69-year-old maverick continues to seek and manifest futuristic ideas into built reality.

  • Piva calls himself a detective of materials | UNSCRIPTED | Videos | STIRworld
    Piva calls himself a detective of materials Image: © Studio Marco Piva
  • Having travelled and worked in 77 cities of the world so far, next place on Piva’s radar is Ushuaia in Argentina (this photo shows him in Siberia) | UNSCRIPTED | Videos | STIRworld
    Having travelled and worked in 77 cities of the world so far, next place on Piva’s radar is Ushuaia in Argentina (this photo shows him in Siberia) Image: © Studio Marco Piva

Speaking of driving a firm and the oddities that come with it, Piva tells us of a personal habit that annoys people who he work with: “If there’s a chance to constantly modify a project, I do it. I find it difficult to say ‘the project is over’.” Guilty of it as he confesses, Piva further states how he is often misperceived as an insecure architect and explains why bureaucracy in architectural development gets on his nerves. 

Find more about him in this full episode of UNSCRIPTED.

All photographs © Studio Marco Piva, unless stated otherwise. Images may not be downloaded, copied, reproduced, or used in part or whole without obtaining permission. The photographs in this video are not licensed for personal, commercial, or public use, or use in the public domain in any form.

UNSCRIPTED:
Curated by Pramiti Madhavji (Consultant, Content Adviser, STIR), UNSCRIPTED is a STIR-original series of quick-witted video interviews with leading design professionals who give a peek into their undiscovered lives. A melting pot of quests, revelations and quirks, the series releases a new episode every Sunday as designers reveal unheard and unknown nuggets from their lives, in response to 30 questions.  

What do you think?

About Author

Recommended

LOAD MORE
see more articles
4104,4068,3990,4106,4007

Keep it stirring

get regular updates SIGN UP

This site uses cookies to offer you an improved and personalised experience. If you continue to browse, we will assume your consent for the same.
LEARN MORE AGREE