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Mr Andrea Foffa

Research project: Exhibition design and 'allestimento' as practice for research and contamination: the context of Italian architects, 1960-1980 (working title)


The aim of my research is to explore the role of exhibition design as a central practice of the twentieth century designer, and to define the exhibition as a collaborative process that has allowed for experimentation and skill sharing across disciplines, materials, forms and spaces. Using the prolific network of Italian architects/designers engaged in exhibition production in the decades 1960-1980 as case study, this project focuses on the modes of practice through which architects engaged with many other professionals involved in exhibition making, and on how skills and knowledge acquired in such contexts have transferred or informed their broader practice. Beyond its contribution to Italian design historiography, this research aims to recognise the exhibition as a significant form of cultural production and public engagement which has become increasingly important in today's knowledge economy. 

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: Exhibition design and 'allestimento' as practice for research and contamination: the context of Italian architects, 1960-1980 (working title)
  • Research supervisor: Dr Catharine Rossi
  • Other research supervisors:


I'm a design history student and researcher with a wide range of research interests, mainly around the ways in which material culture is mediated and how architects and designers engage with mediation in their professional practice past and present. My current PhD research focuses on the practice of designing temporary exhibitions and ephemeral architecture by Italian architects in the twentieth century. Another area of previous research looked at CGI and the development of the architectural visualization industry in the UK in the 1990s.  I have professional experience in management and research of exhibitions on art and design in the UK and in Italy, and I'm an ambassador for the Design History Society. Currently, I'm combining my PhD research with curatorial research for an upcoming exhibition at the Design Museum scheduled for September 2020.

Areas of research interest

  • History of design
  • Italian design history
  • Mediation and media
  • Exhibition design
  • Exhibition studies
  • History of architecture
  • Ephemeral/Temporary
  • Modern Italian history


  • MA in History of Design, Royal College of Art and Victoria and Albert Museum
  • BSc in Architectural Design, Politecnico di Milano

Funding or awards received

  • TECHNE AHRC Doctoral Training Award
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