The best of italian design, made in Polimi.

The ADI DESIGN INDEX 2023 brings together the best products and services from all sectors of Italian design, selected each year by ADI as a pre-selection for the Compasso d'Oro Award, the oldest and most prestigious industrial design award in the world, held every two years.

This year, 238 projects "made it" and entered the INDEX 2023. Together with the selection for 2022, they will complete a particularly important series of events: the preparation for the XXVIII edition of the Compasso d'Oro, which will be held in 2024 to mark the 70th anniversary of the award, which was born in 1954 from an idea by Politecnico alumnus Gio Ponti, thanks to the support of Rinascente.


Design is a special discipline. There are big names, stars and masters who populate this Olympus, but creativity is unpredictable and it is not uncommon for even the very young to be admitted to this pantheon. In particular, the Targa Giovani is the prize that the Compasso D'Oro jury reserves for young designers who enter projects, self-productions, studies or research that are the subject of a thesis or final examination. Of the 19 projects selected for the 2023 edition, eight come from the School of Design of the Politecnico di Milano.

Discover them here

In an interview with Interni Magazine, Professor Francesco Zurlo notes: "Among the 19 selections for Targa Giovani there are few traditional associated products and a lot of research and experimentation. Professor Zurlo is Dean of the School of Design at the Politecnico di Milano and a member of the Scientific Committee of the ADI Permanent Design Observatory, the body responsible for selecting product candidates for the INDEX. In the interview, he highlights two particular elements of this edition: sustainability and inclusiveness, leitmotifs of contemporary Italian design and polytechnic thinking.


The School and Department of Design are also represented in the overall selection with projects, products and research. They were joined by many alumni, designers and planners who presented individual or, more often, collaborative works. Increasingly, design is tackling complexity in a collaborative and interdisciplinary way. Not just beautiful objects, as we are often used to thinking of design: a beautiful lamp, a chair or a dress; there are also designer objects, but among the selections of the ADI Design Index 2023 are many service design projects, for social and communication, editorial projects, online platforms and applications. It is a snapshot of a growing trend that highlights the role of design as a discipline that reforms and innovates processes and interprets the classic combination of form and function.

We tried to track down all the designers, alumni of the Politecnico di Milano, involved in the ADI Design Index 2023. We sifted through all the projects and found more than 50 of them, some as protagonists and some as sidekicks. But surely we must have missed some of them. We are counting on the Alumni Community, as always, to fill this gap. We should also remember that design is a collaborative discipline par excellence, which is why the objects and projects we present are often the work of several hands.

With that necessary disclaimer, let's see what this snapshot of contemporary design has to offer.

Design for Living is traditionally the largest category.

  • ALINE⠀a series of high-tech but hand-finished taps designed by designer Marco (Architecture alumnus 1976)
  • CABANON, which interprets the original spirit of the sauna, designed by Rodolfo Dordoni (Architecture alumnus 1979), who died in August 2023.
  • Dordoni also made GHISAㅤa collection of aluminium radiators.
  • Ilaria Marelli (Architecture alumnus 1997) presents COMO, a collection based on the theme of outdoor fire, developed on the basis of single-material products that are easy to dispose of at the end of their useful life.
  • Designed by Antonio Citterio (Architecture alumnus 1975) ESOSOFTis a collection of modular seating.
  • ICON⠀by Marcello Ziliani (Architecture alumnus 1988), is a collection of adaptable and enveloping seating.
  • INGIRO, by Lorenzo Damiani (Architecture alumnus 1999), is a shower system that can be positioned anywhere and operated with the touch of a foot; ⠀
  • LEVA, a handle with minimal visual and environmental impact, is by Park Associati, a studio founded by Filippo Pagliani (Engineering PhD alumnus 2008) and Michele Rossi (Architecture alumnus 1991).
  • Piero Lissoni (Architecture alumnus 1985) takes up the theme of seating with⠀ MJNA,
  • As does Alessandro Stabile (younger, 2007 graduate of Poli in Industrial Design) with OTO CHAIR and TACO.
  • Lissoni also brings us POCHETTE, an armchair designed for adaptability.
  • The REEF armchair, by Michele Menescardi (Industrial Design alumnus 2004), has been designed with an eco-sustainable and circular approach in every component.
  • OPTICAL TRIPS, is a collection of tiles by Meneghello Paolelli Studio, founded by 2004 alumni Marco Paolelli (Product Design) and Sandro Meneghello (Industrial Design).
  • Patricia Urquiola (Architecture alumnus 1989) presents the SIMOON⠀collection of tables made from recycled Murano glass.
  • Designed by Paolo Belloni (Architecture alumnus 1993), the WALL BOX BE-T is a home charging station and its sister WALL BOX BE-D (in the Design for Work category).
  • A place of honour goes to Lighting Design, which we open with CHIAROSCURA, a floor lamp that experiments with the functional enhancement of the luminator to emit only indirect light upwards. It was designed by Alberto Meda, a designer born in 1945 who graduated in mechanical engineering from the Politecnico di Milano in 1969.
  • Paolo Rizzatto (born in 1941 and graduated in Architecture in 1965) presents FIGAROQUA FIGAROLÀan unconstrained lighting system inspired by the traditional candle lamp.
  • MINI GEEN-A, by Ferruccio Laviani (Architecture alumnus 1986) reinterprets the reading lamp.
  • Also by Dordoni, NILE is a lamp-sculpture whose composition of volumes explores the balance between opposites.
  • In the field of Design for Mobility, we can mention THEFALCON, a 3D-printed bicycle by Romolo Stanco (Architecture alumnus 2000);
  • SP110by Lissoni, a boat born from research into technologies with low environmental impact (SP stands for Smart Performance);
  • V100 MANDELLO, a motorcycle designed for Piaggio's 100th anniversary, equipped with adaptive aerodynamics and bearing the stamp of Marco Lambri (Architecture alumnus 1998).

We open the Design for Work category

  • JOVENA® by Studio Volpi, whose many alumni include Patrizio Cionfoli (Industrial Design alumnus 1999): it is a medical device made up of a trolley with a unit that, through special handpieces, allows different treatments: non-invasive microsurgery, diathermy and contraction combined in a single radio frequency source to reach the muscles and deepest layers.
  • KSA is a family of high-volume industrial systems using Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) technology to replace more polluting electroplating processes in sectors such as automotive. It was designed by Lorenzo De Bartolomeis (Industrial Design 2005).
  • PERFECT BREATH, a contribution by Giuseppe Modeo (Architecture alumnus 2006), is an air filtration device that prevents the accumulation of bacteria and mould.
  • CANCELLATO UNIFORM by Diletta Cancellato (Fashion Design alumnus 2012) in the Design for the Person category, is a clothing line for young and old that combines craftsmanship with new 3D knitting technologies: clothes that can adapt to any physique, age, gender and physical ability.
  • ECO+ RACE CAR, a range of toy cars for children aged 12 months and over, is the result of a collaboration with Bice Dantona (Communication Design alumnus 2011).
  • Lorenzo Palmieri (Architecture alumnus 1993) presents NEMO, an upright piano with a curved front.
  • VENUSIA is a jewellery collection designed by Elena Salmistraro (Industrial Design alumnus 2008).
  • For food design, we have FARFALLA, a nutcracker designed in 1998 by Enzo Mari and as yet unreleased (Enzo Mari);
  • LAVAZZA TINY ECO, for which we mention Angelica Rella (2015 Product Design alumnus)
  • PIETRO GRINDERS, a coffee grinder by Valerio Cometti (2001 Mechanical Engineering alumnus).
  • In the category Design of Materials and Technological Systems: IDRO ROYALE, a single-component water-based finish by Raffaella Mangiarotti (Alumna Architettura 1991);
  • MATHERA, a panel produced using only end-of-life wood, by Diego Grandi (Architecture alumnus 1999);

Let's get out of the tangible with the Service Design:

  • ESPERTO RISPONDE, created with the help of Giacomo Flaim (Communication Design alumnus 2019), is a service of the Il Sole 24 Ore that allows readers of the newspaper to ask questions on tax and legal matters directly to experts in the field.
  • The Dotdotdot studio, founded by Laura Dellamotta and Giovanna Gardi, 2002 architecture graduates, 2003 industrial design graduate Fabrizio Pignoloni and researcher Alessandro Masserdotti, has produced the FONDAZIONE LUIGI ROVATI PLATFORM, a digital system designed for the Foundation's new art museum.
  • NEXI PLANET CARE NEXI PLANET CARE is a service available through the Nexi Pay app that helps raise awareness of sustainable purchasing choices: we mention it because Nexi's CEO is Paolo Bertoluzzo, Management Engineering alumnus of 1990, and given the times, it seemed important.
  • Speaking of SOSTENIBILITÀ 10 E LODE is a deck of 96 cards designed as a team building tool on corporate sustainability by Nicoletta Crisponi (Industrial Design alumnus 2011)..
  • In Design for Social, SHERLOCK, CONCIERGE INCLUSIVOis an object intended for the severely visually impaired, which allows them to acquire information about tourist sites through audio descriptions: how a room is organised, where the sockets are, how the bathroom is laid out, etc. It is the work of the Hackability collective, which we mention because its founder is an alumnus. Francesco Rodighiero, Industrial Design 2003.
  • In the category Ricerca per l’Impresa we can find the BESTIARIO DI INTELLIGENZA ARTIFICIALEa book for adults and children that tells the story of artificial intelligence through the stories of eight imaginary creatures, by Francesca Fiocchi (Industrial Design alumnus 2008)
  • CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE HUB, a personnel selection process based on design thinking, by Amploom (company founded by Serena Leonardi, Product Service System Design alumnus 2013);
  • COLLABORATION MAXIMIZER, a collaboration with Médecins Sans Frontières by Roberta Tassi (Communication Design alumnus 2008): a new working model for a humanitarian NGO;
  • And finally POLARIS®, an infographic creation designed by Lorenzo De Bartolomeis to define the continuous search for a working method in a group.


This has been established by a list of the World's Top 2% Scientists, a global ranking of the most productive scientists prepared by Stanford University in collaboration with Elsevier and the "Scopus” database of the world's scientific research. The ranking is the result of a bibliometric analysis, a discipline that uses mathematical and statistical techniques to analyse the quantity, quality and diffusion of publications within scientific communities. The authors analysed data relating to around 8 million researchers from universities and research centres throughout the world.

Among them, approximately 204,000 scientists stood out for their scientific authority and currently represent the best 2%. Approximately 5,700 of these work (or have worked for the majority of their careers) in Italy, 202 of whom at Politecnico di Milano. Compare the downloadable data using this link

Calculations were performed using all Scopus author profiles as of 1 October 2023. Scientists are classified into 22 scientific fields and 174 subfields, from acoustics to zoology. The citations and the relative h-index, an index that measures the productivity and scientific impact of an author, based on both the number of publications and the number of citations received are evaluated for each researcher. A composite indicator is then calculated for each researcher that focuses on relevance, rather than simply the number of publications, and includes information on co-p authorship and author positions (single, first, last author). Finally, each profile is analysed and compared with the others using advanced machine learning techniques to produce comparable results across scientific areas.


Aerospace and aeronautics, analytical, organic and inorganic chemistry, nuclear and chemical engineering, materials, mechanical engineering and transportation, applied and general mathematics, applied physics, artificial intelligence, automotive engineering, biomedical engineering, building and construction, business and management, civil engineering, hardware and computer architecture, design, electrical and electronic engineering, energy, environmental engineering, geology and geomatics, industrial engineering and automation, telecommunications, optics, optoelectronics and photonics, polymers, software engineering, strategic, defence & security studies, urban and territorial planning. These are the fields in which Politecnico di Milano researchers are among the best in the world. They are:

Tommaso Agasisti, Economics | Andrea Aliverti, Respiratory System | Edoardo Amaldi, Nuclear & Particle Physics | Francesco Amigoni, Artificial Intelligence & Image Processing | Gianfranco Angelino, Energy | Danilo Ardagna, Artificial Intelligence & Image Processing | M. Astolfi, Energy | Sara Bagherifard, Materials | Piero Baraldi, Strategic, Defence & Security Studies | Luigi Barazzetti, Geological & Geomatics Engineering | Luciano Baresi, Artificial Intelligence & Image Processing | Giuseppe Baselli, Biomedical Engineering | Stefano Beretta, Mechanical Engineering & Transports | Alberto Berizzi, Energy | Andrea Bernasconi, Materials | Luca Bertolini, Building & Construction | Giorgio Besagni, Mechanical Engineering & Transports | Luigi Biolzi, Building & Construction | Fabio Biondini, Civil Engineering | Sergio Bittanti, Industrial Engineering & Automation | Daniele Bocchiola, Environmental Engineering | Cristiana Bolchini, Computer Hardware & Architecture | Gabriella Bolzon, Mechanical Engineering & Transports | Andrea Bonarini, Artificial Intelligence & Image Processing | Benedetto Bozzini, Energy | Francesco Braghin, Automobile Design & Engineering | Marco Brambilla, Artificial Intelligence & Image Processing | Angelo M. Brambilla, Electrical & Electronic Engineering | Elisabetta Brenna, Organic Chemistry | Matteo Bruggi, Applied Mathematics | S. Bruni, Automobile Design & Engineering | Enrico Cagno, Energy | Roberto Camagni, Urban & Regional Planning | Stefano Campanari, Energy | Roberta Capello, Urban & Regional Planning | Edoardo Capello, Materials | Antonio Capone, Networking & Telecommunications | Valter Carvelli, Materials | Siro Casolo, Mechanical Engineering & Transports | Carlo Cercignani, Fluids & Plasmas | Stefano Ceri, Artificial Intelligence & Image Processing | Giulio Cerullo, Optics | Sergio Cerutti, Biomedical Engineering | Federico Cheli, Automobile Design & Engineering | Vittorio Chiesa, Business & Management | Paolo Chiesa, Energy | Pasquale Ciarletta, Mechanical Engineering & Transports | Lorenzo Codecasa, Electrical & Electronic Engineering | Patrizio Colaneri, Industrial Engineering & Automation | Marcello Colledani, Industrial Engineering & Automation | Pierluigi Colombi, Materials | Massimo G. Colombo, Business & Management | F. Colombo, General Mathematics | Bianca Maria Colosimo, Industrial Engineering & Automation | Claudia Comi, Mechanical Engineering & Transports | Stefano Consonni, Energy | Alberto Corigliano, Mechanical Engineering & Transports | Dario Coronelli, Civil Engineering | Sergio Cova, Optoelectronics & Photonics | Loredana Cristaldi, Electrical & Electronic Engineering | Rinaldo Cubeddu, Optics | Gianpaolo Cugola, Artificial Intelligence & Image Processing | A. Cuoci, Energy | Gabriele D’antona, Electrical & Electronic Engineering | Gianluca D’Errico, Energy | Florian Daniel, Artificial Intelligence & Image Processing | Carlo De Michele, Environmental Engineering | Sandro De Silvestri, Optoelectronics & Photonics | Giuseppe Della Valle, Optics | Luigi T. DeLuca, Aerospace & Aeronautics | Ali Gökhan Demir, Materials | Marco di Prisco, Building & Construction | Giorgio Diana, Civil Engineering | L. Dozio, Materials | Lorenzo Fagiano, Industrial Engineering & Automation | Roberto Sebastiano Faranda, Energy | Tiziano Faravelli, Energy | Liberato Ferrara, Building & Construction | Alessandro Ferrero, Electrical & Electronic Engineering | Giancarlo Ferrigno, Biomedical Engineering | Marco Finazzi, Applied Physics | Pio Forzatti, Physical Chemistry | A. Frassoldati, Energy | Piero Fraternali, Artificial Intelligence & Image Processing | Carlo Albino Frigo, Biomedical Engineering | Alfonso Fuggetta, Software Engineering | Maurizio Stefano Galimberti, Polymers | Pietro G. Gambarova, Civil Engineering | Fabio Ganazzoli, Polymers | Franca Garzotto, Artificial Intelligence & Image Processing | Filippo Gazzola, General Mathematics | Carmelo Gentile, Civil Engineering | Carlo Ghezzi, Software Engineering | Massimo Ghioni, Optoelectronics & Photonics | Marco Giglio, Materials | Giuseppina Gini, Artificial Intelligence & Image Processing | Giancarlo Gioda, Geological & Geomatics Engineering | Antonio Giuffrida, Energy | M. Grasselli, General Mathematics | Gianmarco Griffini, Polymers | Gianpiero Groppi, Physical Chemistry | Mario Guagliano, Materials | Alberto Guardone, Aerospace & Aeronautics | Andrea Virgilio Guarnieri, Geological & Geomatics Engineering | D. Ielmini, Applied Physics | Hamid Reza Karimi, Industrial Engineering & Automation | Andrea L. Lacaita, Applied Physics | Guglielmo Lanzani, Applied Physics | Pier Luca Lanzi, Artificial Intelligence & Image Processing | Paolo Laporta, Optics | Alberto Leva, Industrial Engineering & Automation | Sonia Leva, Energy | Salvatore Levantino, Electrical & Electronic Engineering | Luca Lietti, Physical Chemistry | Maria Pina Limongelli, Civil Engineering | Giorgio Locatelli, Energy | Stefano Longhi, Optics | Marco Lovera, Industrial Engineering & Automation | Giovanni Lozza, Energy | Elena Lucchi, Building & Construction | Ennio Macchi, Energy | Giuseppe Macchiarella, Networking & Telecommunications | Paolo Maffezzoni, Electrical & Electronic Engineering | Vittorio Magni, Optoelectronics & Photonics | Giulio Maier, Mechanical Engineering & Transports | Luca Mainardi, Biomedical Engineering | Erfan Maleki, Materials | Flavio Manenti, Energy | Ezio Manzini, Design Practice & Management | Giampaolo Manzolini, Energy | Stefano Mariani, Mechanical Engineering & Transports | M. Marseguerra, Energy | M. Martinelli, Optoelectronics & Photonics | Pierangelo Masarati, Aerospace & Aeronautics | Emilio Matricciani, Networking & Telecommunications | Domenico Mazzeo, Energy | Marco Mehl, Energy | Stefano Valdo Meille, Polymers | Andrea Mele, Organic Chemistry | Andrea Melloni, Optoelectronics & Photonics | Pierangelo Metrangolo, Organic Chemistry | Francesco Migliavacca, Biomedical Engineering | Gabriele Milani, Civil Engineering | Francesco Minisci, Organic Chemistry | Massimo Morbidelli, Chemical Engineering | Francesco Morichetti, Optoelectronics & Photonics | Luca Mottola, Networking & Telecommunications | G. Natta, Polymers | Michele Norgia, Electrical & Electronic Engineering | Roberto Nova, Geological & Geomatics Engineering | Angelo Onorati, Energy | A. Pandolfi, Mechanical Engineering & Transports | Roberto Paolucci, Strategic, Defence & Security Studies | Vittorino Pata, General Mathematics | Achille Pattavina, Networking & Telecommunications | P. Pedeferri, Energy | Antonio Pedotti, Biomedical Engineering | Paolo Pennacchi, Design Practice & Management | Giancarlo Pennati, Biomedical Engineering | Barbara Pernici, Artificial Intelligence & Image Processing | Roberto Piazza, Fluids & Plasmas | Luigi Piegari, Electrical & Electronic Engineering | Antonio Pifferi, Optics | Luigi Piroddi, Industrial Engineering & Automation | Claudio Maria Prati, Geological & Geomatics Engineering | Manuela Teresa Raimondi, Biomedical Engineering | Eliseo Ranzi, Energy | Alberto Redaelli, Biomedical Engineering | Giuseppe Resnati, Organic Chemistry | Pier Giorgio Righetti, Analytical Chemistry | F. Rocca, Geological & Geomatics Engineering | Paolo Rocco, Industrial Engineering & Automation | Matteo C. Romano, Energy | Renzo Rosso, Environmental Engineering | M. C. Rulli, Environmental Engineering | Giuseppe Sala, Materials | Carlo Samori, Electrical & Electronic Engineering | Sergio M. Savaresi, Industrial Engineering & Automation | Marco Scaioni, Geological & Geomatics Engineering | Fabio Scardigli, Nuclear & Particle Physics | Riccardo Scattolini, Industrial Engineering & Automation | Umberto Spagnolini, Networking & Telecommunications | Matteo Strano, Materials | O. Svelto, Optoelectronics & Photonics | Alberto Taliercio, Mechanical Engineering & Transports | Maria Cristina Tanzi, Biomedical Engineering | Paola Taroni, Optics | Stefano Tebaldini, Geological & Geomatics Engineering | Tullio A.M. Tolio, Industrial Engineering & Automation | Francesco Topputo, Aerospace & Aeronautics | Massimo Tornatore, Networking & Telecommunications | Alessandro Torricelli, Optics | Alberto Tosi, Optoelectronics & Photonics | Enrico Tronconi, Physical Chemistry | John Rodney Turner, Building & Construction | Marco Valente, Civil Engineering | Maurizio Vedani, Materials | Carlo Vercellis, Artificial Intelligence & Image Processing | Stefano Zanero, Artificial Intelligence & Image Processing | Franco Zappa, Optoelectronics & Photonics | Giuseppe Zerbi, Chemical Physics | Enrico Zio, Strategic, Defence & Security Studies

Sensors and 'self-healing' materials to protect cultural heritage

Politecnico is at the top of the world rankings of universities also thanks to the frontier scientific research it carries out in its laboratories. The protagonists of this Italian record are the approximately 3,500 scientists and researchers of Politecnico. Among the hottest topics are obviously those related to the systemic transformation towards climate neutrality; and then, the world of digital, space exploration, life sciences, the movements embraced by the New European Bauhaus, the new frontiers in the study of matter... In particular, young researchers inject new life into the research system and grow innovative scientific strands. Politecnico invests in activities aimed precisely at encouraging young scientists of excellence to join in. Among many, this year we welcome twelve new young researchers who are among the best of their generation. They are here at Politecnico di Milano thanks to the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) fellowship programme. Let us introduce them... in alphabetical order.

NIKI TROCHOUTSOU deals with cultural heritage at risk. She tells us: "Earthquakes, armed conflicts and climate change threaten the structural integrity of cultural heritage and, consequently, our identity. Structural modernisation is crucial for protecting the built heritage and ensuring its resilience. Current repair systems may fail prematurely and their long-term performance is not guaranteed, thus continuous and costly monitoring is needed to prevent jeopardising safety. My project will develop new-generation fabric-reinforced mortar and self-sensing systems that can 'feel' the damage and heal the cracks with no human intervention”.

Read more: all Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) researchers in 2023 on MAP 12

Mhackeroni winning in Las Vegas (it's hacking... for fun!)

Mario Polino is 33 years old and has a lot of black, curly hair hinting at an originality expressed through knowing how to be a hacker: that is, knowing how to hack a computer system in order to protect it. He is a Cyber security researcher at the Department of Electronics Information and Bioengineering at Politecnico di Milanoand captain of the team Mhackeroni, , an inter-university group of about 60 people where Politecnico, with its internal team 'Tower of Hanoi', is the most represented.

Polino told us about an Italian victory in a very prestigious competition open to everyone, not just universities, held in August 2023 in Las Vegas: Hack a-Sat (ie ‘hack a satellite’). It was organised by the US Department of Defence, which launched a real satellite into space, and took place during the DEF CON 31 conference (10-13 August 2023) in Las Vegas. To have an idea of the level of this competition, the organising body (Air Force Research Laboratory) is the same one that devised the GPS system.

Over 300 teams from all over the world took part in the competition, but only five made it to the final in Las Vegas: one Italian, one German, one Polish and two mixed US-UK teams.

‘These competitions are not just about attack-violation, they are often also about defence, namely protecting systems by identifying and strengthening vulnerable areas. It is, in practice, a matter of seeking or protecting sensitive data'.

In the case of the Las Vegas competition, the situation was one of attack. This is what the five teams had to do: ‘We had to violate the security of the satellite in orbit; in other words we had to be able to control it and make it take pictures in the various Red Zones’.

'Technically,' Polino added, 'it was a matter of writing programmes to make the satellite think it was flying over a free zone instead of one of the red zones.

Want to read this and many other news items in print format? From January for members will be available the new MAP, the Alumni magazine -> to receive it at home donate here!

Who is Federica Fragapane, the italian designer exhibiting at MoMa in New York

In the era of Big Data, disciplines such as information design and data visualisation are crucial to make the enormous amount of information we have in every area of human knowledge understandable and exploitable. Federica Fragapane sure knows that. After graduating in Communication Design at Politecnico di Milano, she succeeded in building a fascinating career in this field, becoming a reference point for the design of infographics for La Lettura, the cultural insert of Corriere della Sera, and going on to collect collaborations with other newspapers, from Scientific American to BBC Science Focus, and with a wide range of organisations, associations and companies ranging from Google to the UN. Never, however, would the 35-year-old have expected that three of her data visualisations would be acquired by the Department of Architecture and Design of New York's MoMa as part of the museum's permanent collection. A great satisfaction, thanks to a creative and experimental approach based on the representation of complexity through visual interfaces other than traditional bar, pie, Cartesian or histogram graphs, and on the idea that aesthetics count as much as content.

The idea is to graphically suggest aspects that tend to be excluded from purely statistical analysis - which, despite its scientific rigour, risks concealing the many facets of the complexity of reality in which we are immersed and the relativity of our gaze. Meaningful, in this regard, is Federica's choice to draw autumn-hued leaves in one of the projects selected by MoMa, ‘Land Defenders’, published in the magazine Atmos to accompany an investigation by journalist Yessenia Funes and dedicated to the environmentalists killed in Brazil between 2015 and 2019. Or again, to draw a sort of red snake to visualise the levels of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. It is a matter of focusing on what Fragapane defines as ‘visual words, no less important than textual ones and able, with their evocative power, to give life to a visual tale that is also open to emotion’.

‘After attending university I worked for a few years at Accurat, an information design studio based in Milan and New York, and already there I breathed the air of experimentation,’ says Fragapane. ‘When I became a freelancer, following my instincts and spending a lot of time at the PC and among books looking for visual inspirations, but without necessarily wanting to define a precise style, I found myself attracted above all by what had to do with nature and the world of living organisms. From that moment on, I started to use organic, soft figures, far removed from those that usually populate infographics, and over time this became a conscious and meaningful practice. For me, not only are those forms beautiful, but they also recall two concepts: on the one hand, the life behind the data themselves, the fact that behind the numbers and percentages I outline there are often stories of people or ecosystems, humanity, a “living being”, and I believe it is essential to render this graphically; on the other hand, the relativity, non-neutrality and imperfection of those data, which, beyond the reliability of the sources I use, are inevitably the result of human research.’

Some will object that this approach may undermine the user's perception of scientific merit, but for Fragapane this is a false problem. ‘I think intellectual honesty is needed to state that there is always someone behind the collection and processing of data - which for me does not undermine a study’s authority. On the contrary, that very honesty can strongly contribute to building trust in numbers and science'. Underlying this is the belief that in every information design project clarity and display beauty must be intertwined while adapting to the target audience. ‘It deals with caring about what you do and caring about the group of people you address. Also, when the purpose of a survey is informative, I like to think that an aesthetically pleasing infographic can become an invitation to read and explore. Aesthetics is not a fad, a finishing touch: it is an integral part of the communication process'

Want to read this and many other news stories in full in print format? From January for members will be available the new MAP, the Alumni magazine -> to receive it donate here!

Photo Credit: Wild Mazzini

Here are the italian scientists behind the Nobel prize in physics 2023

The attoseconds one is among the most relevant scientific stories of the last 100 years - one of those stories where something seems impossible... until it is done. It is also one of those stories that perfectly tell how a scientific discovery is the result of collective efforts by a community of scientists working together, for decades, even at a distance (and they did it even when it was not mainstream).

And it is a story that culminates (but does not end) in 2023 with the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Physics to three scientists: Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz and Anne L'Huillier, 'for experimental methods that generate attosecond pulses of light for the study of electron dynamics in matter'. Following this assignment, other scientists have emerged who have strongly contributed to the recent discoveries - and in particular one that concerns us very closely.

At the Department of Physics of Politecnico di Milano, Mauro Nisoli is Professor of Physics of Matter and Director of the Attosecond Research Centre laboratory. He is a pioneer of attosecond physics and the work of his research group is behind the experiments that led to the generation and characterisation of 'extremely short' light pulses, lasting a billionth of a billionth of a second, used to study the motion of electrons within atoms and molecules.

We asked him to tell us this story: here is how it went.


The story of this Nobel Prize - and of attoseconds - begins in the 1980s, when some scientists set out to look at what happens inside molecules - and atoms - when hit by a short, high-energy light pulse. But there’s a problem: electrons move faster than our instruments can pick up at the time. While the motion of atoms takes place on the femtosecond time scale (one femtosecond is equal to one millionth of a billionth of a second, namely 10-15 seconds), electrons move much faster, on the attosecond time scale, namely 10-18 seconds. Therefore, if we want to be able to follow (and measure) the motion of electrons, we must use laser pulses with durations of less than a femtosecond.

The point is... you cannot produce light pulses lasting shorter than one optical cycle, which is determined by the wavelength of light. Typically, a femtosecond laser produces pulses in the visible or near-infrared region. In order to generate attosecond pulses, the wavelength of light must first be shortened. In the 1980s this seemed an impossible feat. But still...

Want to read this and many other news stories in full in print? From January for members will be available the new MAP, the Alumni magazine -> to receive it at home dona here!

Fighting cancer: photonics in the operating room

Politecnico is at the top of the world rankings of universities also thanks to the frontier scientific research it carries out in its laboratories. The protagonists of this Italian record are the approximately 3,500 scientists and researchers of Politecnico. Among the hottest topics are obviously those related to the systemic transformation towards climate neutrality; and then, the world of digital, space exploration, life sciences, the movements embraced by the New European Bauhaus, the new frontiers in the study of matter... In particular, young researchers inject new life into the research system and grow innovative scientific strands. Politecnico invests in activities aimed precisely at encouraging young scientists of excellence to join in. Among many, this year we welcome twelve new young researchers who are among the best of their generation. They are here at Politecnico di Milano thanks to the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) fellowship programme. Let us introduce them... in alphabetical order.

ANDREA LILIANA PACHECO TOBO aims to pioneer the development of photonics-based spectroscopy and thermometry methods for clinical solutions, to distinguish tissue undergoing coagulative necrosis and/or hyperthermia from normal healthy tissue during tumour removal by thermal ablation. To achieve this goal, she tells us, " 1(1) I will study endogenous concentrations of optical biomarkers useful for differentiating ablation margins; (2) I will develop a tissue phantom to recreate the thermal gradients and optical properties of the main tissue ablation zones; (3) I will conduct observational studies to collect data in-situ from animals undergoing cancer treatment with laser ablation; and (4) I will develop data acquisition and processing algorithms for detecting the ablation margin based on the results of spectrometric and thermometric measurements acquired with both phantoms and animal studies”. The technology to be developed can minimise the destruction of healthy tissue surrounding the lesions while obtaining a complete section of the tumour.

Read more: all Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) researchers in 2023 on MAP 12

Nanocarriers delivering drugs drugs into our bodies only where they are needed

Politecnico is at the top of the world rankings of universities also thanks to the frontier scientific research it carries out in its laboratories. The protagonists of this Italian record are the approximately 3,500 scientists and researchers of Politecnico. Among the hottest topics are obviously those related to the systemic transformation towards climate neutrality; and then, the world of digital, space exploration, life sciences, the movements embraced by the New European Bauhaus, the new frontiers in the study of matter... In particular, young researchers inject new life into the research system and grow innovative scientific strands. Politecnico invests in activities aimed precisely at encouraging young scientists of excellence to join in. Among many, this year we welcome twelve new young researchers who are among the best of their generation. They are here at Politecnico di Milano thanks to the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) fellowship programme. Let us introduce them... in alphabetical order.

FEDERICA SEBASTIANI studies the relation between the structure and function of biocolloids and biomimetic systems. In recent years, she has been working on drug delivery, a process that enables medicines to reach areas of the body affected by a disease. "The formulation of nanocarriers (i.e., nanometric particles that carry drugs) has attracted increasing attention in recent decades. In particular, the possibility of combining therapeutic and imaging capabilities in a single nanoplatform (theranostics) has been widely explored to advance therapeutic approaches and promote the transition from conventional medicine to personalised medicine”. Sebastiani will study lipid nanocarriers for gene delivery. drug delivery, il processo che consente alle medicine di raggiungere zone del corpo colpite da patologie. “La formulazione di nanocarrier (cioè particelle nanometriche che trasportano i farmaci) ha attirato una crescente attenzione negli ultimi decenni. In particolare, la possibilità di combinare funzionalità terapeutiche e di imaging in un’unica nanopiattaforma (teranostica) è stata ampiamente esplorata per far progredire gli approcci terapeutici e promuovere la transizione dalla medicina convenzionale alla medicina personalizzata”. Sebastiani studierà nanocarrier lipidici per la consegna genica.

Read more: all Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) researchers in 2023 on MAP 12


Politecnico di Milano was established on 29 November 1863 and this year celebrates its 160th anniversary, a milestone that marks a path of innovation, education and research in which the University has made significant contributions to the technological, social and economic development of Italy.

Today, on the occasion of this anniversary, Politecnico continues to look forward, establishing itself as a reference point for innovation, and in this historical moment, innovation means Artificial Intelligence.

160 years of history have taught us that true innovation is based on an awareness of the past and a vision of the future.o

Rector of Politecnico di Milano Donatella Sciuto says.

Today, more than ever, we are called upon to design the future, to lead the change and to respond to the global challenges ahead. Politecnico di Milano has been involved in the study of AI for over 50 years. Our University has established itself as a major centre for Artificial Intelligence, with a transversal and pervasive approach within all areas of research and innovation. Artificial Intelligence represents a paradigm shift, and as a University we have a responsibility to educate new generations in the conscious use of knowledge.

In addition to Rector Donatella Sciuto, the opening ceremony of the 161st Academic Year was also attended by Veronica Marrocu, President of the Student Board at Politecnico di Milano; Mariarosaria Taddeo, Professor in Digital Ethics and Defence Technologies at Oxford University; Roberto Viola, Director General for Digital Policies at the European Commission; Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan; Attilio Fontana, President of the Lombardy Region; Iliana Ivanova, Commissioner for Innovation Research Culture Education and Youth at the European Commission.

The Alumnus that brings innovation in Burkina Faso

We often read stories of brain drain, brilliant minds leaving their countries to seek their fortune abroad. The story of Arsène Héma, co-founder of the digital fabrication laboratory InViis Lab, is that of a man who left his country without ever really leaving it, as his idea was of studying abroad to then go back to Africa to put into practice the knowledge acquired. After specialising with a master's degree in telecommunications at Politecnico in 2009 and going back to Burkina Faso in 2010, Héma admits that his initial idea “was to work as a teacher, not to become an entrepreneur”. When he arrived at Paoli, he realised that the two things did not exclude each other, and so he decided to open the company 'InViis Lab' in Burkina Faso in collaboration with Hubert N'Do who manages the commercial aspects of the enterprise. This FabLab (a digital fabrication lab) provides students and entrepreneurs with state-of-the-art technological equipment to improve their skills and bring their innovative ideas to life, accompanying them in the development of fundable prototypes and sustainable business models.

The beginnings at Politecnico

Héma was born and raised in Côte d'Ivoire, but his parents are from Burkina Faso. After studying electronics, he became interested in research and development (in 2004 I developed a telephone for my thesis, he tells us): "A Spanish friend told me about Politecnico di Milano: I applied for a scholarship through Fondazione Rui and in September 2005 I arrived in Milan”, he explains. After overcoming the trauma of 'cold weather'(in Côte d'Ivoire temperature was 35 degrees, when I arrived in Milan it was 17! I had never felt such a cold climate, he smiles), his Italian adventure began: “I had to learn Italian from scratch, and I was enrolled in a master's programme in telecommunications: the level was high, and most of the other students had already attended Politecnico for their first-level degree”, he says. "Moreover, the scholarship did not cover everything, so I had to work and learn not to procrastinate".

The meeting with Decina and the return to Africa

A decisive meeting is the one with professor Maurizio Decina: "He made me realise that I could be a teacher and an entrepreneur, just like him”, Héma says. Thus, at the end of his studies at Politecnico, Héma went back to Africa: “My parents had decided to go back to Burkina Faso, I went the idea of just visiting them, but in the end, I never left: there I got to know an environment which, although close to Côte d'Ivoire, is very different'. Building on his experience in Milan, Héma worked in support of other entrepreneurs, then in the biomedical field as head of operations, and finally as professor of telecommunications service development technology at the University in Burkina Faso (a position he still holds).

The contact with Fondazione Aurora

As is often the case, it is a mutual friend - Cleophas Adrien Dioma - that allows Marta Sachy, director of the Aurora ETS Foundation (an organization that works to strengthen entrepreneurial initiatives in Africa), and Arsène Héma to get to know each other. "The foundation was following a water access project in the west of Burkina Faso, specifically in the village where my parents are from," Héma explains. "They were looking for someone to support them in accompanying the drilling venture that was also started thanks to the support of the Aurora Foundation, dealing in particular with relations with local authorities. And that's how I met Marta." "Arséne's work is really important because she acts as a bridge, including a cultural one, between Aurora Foundation, the enterprise and African institutions," Sachy says.

The birth of InViis Lab

When Héma told Sachy about InViis Lab, Fondazione Aurora decided to collaborate. The Foundation has already presented InViis Lab twice in Italy, the first time at the Stock Exchange in Milan, the second time in Rome as part of the Italy-Africa Business Week. "The name InViis Lab comes from the Latin in viis - meaning in the street, around people - but also from the vernacular Latin beyond the finish line, beyond the wait”, Héma explains.

"Our goal at InViis is not to invent new things: we want to take inspiration from things that already exist and improve on them, avoiding making the same mistakes”, Héma emphasises. For the time being, the company specialises in three areas: electronics, the Internet of Things (which includes smartphones and smart home appliances) and telecommunications.

Solving real problems

"We want to develop projects that respond to the real needs of the local reality in Burkina Faso, such as agriculture and fish farming: our idea is to find technological but real solutions to make life easier for workers and help them earn more money”, Héma explains.

In addition to helping those who have an idea to develop, InViis will also offer recognised training, issuing certificates that are also valid outside Burkina Faso. “Our biggest dream is for InViis Lab to become a benchmark for research and development of innovations”, Héma says.

Who can participate and when it opens

Who can use the services of InViis Lab? “There is no minimum age or education level to propose an idea: if your idea is good, we listen to you”, Héma replies. "There will be a scientific committee that will do an initial screening, and then we will offer different levels of membership dedicated to university students, individuals or companies”.
InViis Lab targets three main customer groups:

  • the membership programme is designed for autonomous innovators and allows for direct use of the lab's equipment, including 3D printers, PCs, CNC milling machines and laser engravers, welding stations, oscilloscopes and multimeters, and Arduino learning kits;
  • students and employees of private companies and public offices will be able to receive professional training courses and workshops to develop digital and entrepreneurial skills, including through partnerships with universities and research centers;
  • building on their ICT and business expertise, Arsène’s team will also offer research and development, optimisation, prototyping and validation services on behalf of companies and start-ups with innovative ideas.

InViis Lab started its first projects in August 2023, most notably the programming and installation of a set of LED panels for a banking institution in Ouagadougou, thanks in part to the support of three trainees from local engineering universities. "If all goes well, we expect to move to production and commercialization of these and other projects already after a year of testing: they would solve very important problems in Burkina Faso, while also saving the government a lot of money," Héma explains.

How can we help?

Is it possible to contribute to the success of this project? "Certainly, by sharing this article and spreading the word about InViis Lab's activities with your networks of contacts you can help us establish new opportunities for international collaborations and partnerships, thus contributing to the company's growth," Héma replies. "We also invite those who would like to support InViis Lab to get in touch with us by contributing to the investments we are making to further equip the lab, especially with tools that offer more mobility to be able to test solutions in the field."

InViis Lab Contacts
Arsene Hèma –
Hubert N’Do –

880 Alumni (at Poli and online) at the 12th Alumni Convention

"Every day at Polimi we work to do things that have a positive impact, to improve the world we live in and the way we live. That's our true and only mission: and that's what drives us to study, teach, work, do, with great passion."

This is how Enrico Zio, president Alumni Politecnico di Milano, opens the discussion, kicking off a moment of insight and discussion between senior university officials and the Alumni community.

683 Alumni attended the live event, crowding the Politecnico di Milano lecture hall-more than 200 followed and commented on the online discussion. Making an impact, it turns out, is by no means a triviality. Especially when the rudder is pointed firmly in the direction of sustainable growth:

"it means first taking care of people and their environment."

comments Rector Donatella Sciuto, in her first year in this position on the Alumni stage. From a need for sustainability, she explains, "important challenges arise to which research must respond. Technologies in materials, architecture and design are directed at creating a sustainable environment for the future, the one we will leave to young people."

The next generations are at the center of the discourse: it is with this perspective on the future that Sciuto invites us to consider "the other side of the coin" of development, for example, the great energy impact of machine learning technologies, just to name one, and introduces at all levels of academic discourse, from research, to teaching, to the relationship with the territory, an ethical dimension that leads us to think about our impact in the world.