Founded in Florence in 1988 by Laura Andreini, Marco Casamonti and Giovanni Polazzi, Archea is a architecture studio in which more than 150 architects work in Florence, Rome and Milan. In 1999, the founders were joined by Silvia Fabi, coordinator of the studio’s design activities. Thanks also to the collaboration with partner companies in Beijing, Dubai and Sao Paulo, the studio has realized works of Architecture, Design, Interior Design and Graphic Design all over the world. Archea Associati’s interests and research activities move from the landscape to the city, from building to design and, while focusing on architecture, the projects range from graphics to publishing – with the direction and editorial staff of the international architecture magazine “Area” – from exhibitions to applied research. The complementarity between the different activities focused on composition in relation to the various scales of the project opens a constant critical reflection on the themes of the construction of architecture.
In addition to research in the design field, each member of the firm carries out a parallel activity in the Faculties of Architecture in Genoa, where the architect Marco Casamonti is Full Professor of Architectural and Urban Design, and in Florence, where the architect Laura Andreini holds the Chair of Architectural and Urban Design.
Over the years, the firm has been invited to important competitions in Italy and abroad, and has received numerous prizes and awards, as well as being invited to participate, with the main works created, in several editions of the Venice Biennale Architecture Exhibition.
Among the most important projects is possible to include: the Municipal Library of Nembro (Bergamo), the extension and redevelopment of the Perfetti Van Melle headquarters in Lainate near Milan, the new Antinori Winery in Chianti Classico in San Casciano Val di Pesa, Florence, the Yanqing Grape Expo near Beijing, the Li Ling World Ceramic Art City in China, the Colle Loreto residential complex in Lugano, the recovery and transformation of the former Wines Warehouse of Trieste in Eataly, the recovery and transformation of the Central Market of La Valletta in Malta and the new National Stadium Of Albania, in Tirana. Currently under construction are, among others, the Forevergreen commercial and residential tower in Tirana (Albania), the Changri-La winery in Penglai (China), the residential complex San Donato and the renovation and transformation of the Ex Cinema Astra 2, both in Florence (Italy).
Laura Andreini, Marco Casamonti, and Giovanni Polazzi, graduates of the School of Architecture of the University of Florence, Italy, founded Studio Archea in the same city in 1988. Their practice grew and developed, and in 2001 Silvia Fabi joined them in creating Archea Associati. Over the years they have brought numerous international works to completion and opened ateliers in China, the United Arab Emirates, Brazil, and Albania. Alongside their main activities in experimental architecture and in the realization of works on a wide range of scales – from objects to buildings and urban planning – they have also been occupied with research and teaching activities in the field of architectural design at various Italian universities. In particular, Marco Casamonti is Full Professor of Architectural and Urban Design at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Genoa, while Laura Andreini holds the Chair of Architectural and Urban Design at the School of Architecture of the University of Florence. Their professional practice has always been accompanied by in-depth studies and critical reflection, disseminated by means of essays and other writings in books and magazines in Italy and abroad, and the organization of exhibitions, events, and workshops in the realm of architectural design. Since 1997, Marco Casamonti has been the editor of the international architectural magazine Area, with Laura Andreini as deputy editor since 2002. It is currently published by the group Tecniche Nuove, in Milan. From 2006 to 2008, Casamonti was scientific editor of Fondazione Annali dell’Architettura e delle Città, in Naples. Since 2009, Laura Andreini has been the editor of Forma, a publisher specialized in art, architecture, design, and photography. The firm has created a series of works that have been published in books and the principal international magazines, and selected for important architectural exhibitions. Archea Associati has participated in many of the most important national and international architectural competitions and consultations, obtaining numerous awards and prizes. Their projects for the Turin and Florence high-speed rail stations were shortlisted in 2001 and 2002. In 2003 they were amongst the nine Italian design firms commissioned by Immobiliare Novoli for the construction of a large city block in the ex-Fiat area of Florence. In 2004, in collaboration with the architect Rafael Moneo, the firm participated in an invitational competition for the design of the new Palazzo del Cinema in Venice. In 2005 they won the invitational competition for the design of the Alban Tower, as part of the masterplan for the new city center in Tirana, Albania. Also in 2005, they won the international invitational competition, promoted by Pirelli Re and Morgan Stanley, for the former Ansaldo area in the Grande Bicocca zone of Milan. In 2007 they placed second in the competition for the design of the Music and Culture Park in Florence. In 2011 they won the international invitational competition for the design of the International Grape Exhibition Garden in Yanqing, near Beijing, China, inaugurated in 2014. In 2012 they received an AIT-Award in the Industrial Production category for their project for the Perfetti Van Melle factory, and again in 2012 for their project for the Antinori winery in the Chianti Classico region (Florence). In 2014 they were awarded an honorable mention for their entry in the Central Bank of Libya New Building Limited Architectural Competition, organized and promoted by CBL (the Central Bank of Libya). In 2015, the Antinori nel Chianti Classico winery, in San Casciano Val di Pesa, near Florence, was amongst the five finalists for the Mies van der Rohe EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture. In 2016, the firm won the competition for the construction of the New National Stadium of Albania, which was inaugurated in November 2019. In 2017 the firm won the international invitational competition for their design for the new Thermal Centre in Ponte di Legno, near Brescia, Italy. In 2018 they won the international invitational competition for the planning and development of the new Rublyovo-Arkhangelsky urban expansion district in Moscow. The firm designs, organizes, and participates in numerous exhibitions and cultural events. In 1996, with its design for the Curno entertainment complex near Bergamo, the firm was included in the Italian section of the 6th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. In 2002, with its Private House in Leffe, the firm was selected for the International Exhibition on Stone Architecture and for the Italian Review of Architecture in Tokyo, entitled From Futurism to the Possible Future. In 2008 their project for the Public Library of Nembro, near Bergamo, was selected for the exhibition organized by the London Design Museum, and in 2010 it was included in the exhibition AILATI Riflessi dal futuro at the 12th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. In 2011 the MuBe, the Brazilian Sculpture Museum in São Paolo, hosted the monograph exhibition ARCHEA Sustainable Landmarks. In 2012 the projects for the Antinori nel Chianti Classico winery and for the expansion of the Perfetti Van Melle factory were displayed at the exhibition Architetture del Made in Italy at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. In 2014 the Antinori nel Chianti Classico winery was featured at the Innesti/Grafting exhibition at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. In 2018 their project for a home/studio on Rua Harmonia in São Paulo, Brazil, was displayed at the exhibition Metropoli Novissima, held by the Fondazione Annali dell’Architettura e delle Città in Naples. The studio participates with the Liling World Ceramic Art City Exhibition and reception complex in China, with the National Stadium of Albania, the competion for the development of the Rublyovo-Arkhangelskoye area in Russia and the BaNa Hills 2.0 masterplan and winery in Vietnam at the exhibition at the Giorgio Cini Foundation named East; wich was an unpublished story of places and societies that unfolds through the projects developed in Eastern countries. Among their most important completed projects, in addition to those already mentioned, are the B3-2 Pavilion in the Urban Best Practices area of Expo 2010 in Shanghai; the World Ceramic Art City in Liling, China; the Colle Loreto residential building in Lugano, Switzerland; the renovation of a wine house in Trieste and its transformation into an Eataly store; the headquarters building for Sanlorenzo SPA in La Spezia; the renovation and transformation of the Central Market in Florence, as well as the one in Valletta, Malta; and TSH—The Student Hotel, and the transformation of the “Manovia” factory building for Salvatore Ferragamo, both in Florence. They have recently completed the renovation and refurbishment of the new Universe Hotel in Lucca for the Marriott Group – Autograph Collection, as well as the construction of The Veil in Astana (Nur-Sultan), Kazakistan, which hosts restaurants, shops, and a boutique hotel, complete with spa. Currently under construction, among others, are the redevelopment of the Seaside Square in Durrës, Albania; the Changri-La winery in Penglai, China; the residential complex in the San Donato neighborhood of Florence; the renovation and adaptive reuse of the former Cinema Astra 2 and the new Training Centre for ACF Fiorentina, both also in Florence; the above-mentioned Thermal Centre in Ponte di Legno, Brescia; and residential buildings in Cancun, Mexico, in São Paulo, Brazil, and in Russia. The firm also has important projects underway in the design phases, including the expansion of the Ba Na Hills mountain resort, with a new winery, museum and theater, and the new Kiss Bridge, both in Vietnam. The project for the LeoFrance factory in Florence is in the final stages, while design development continues for the urban expansion of Rublyovo-Arkhangelsky—a new urban district approximately 70 km from Moscow—and a master plan for the Kastrati Group, in Tirana, with hotels, office towers and a shopping center.