Founder and Coordinator
Associate Professor of Industrial Design at the Politecnico di Milano, where she founded MADEC, the Material Design Culture Research Centre and directs the founding research. Her research aims to clarify the relationship between design and materials in the history and the contemporary time and to understand the dynamics of design-driven material innovation. With her research, she has made a significant contribution to methodologies of Design for Materials and historiographical work.
She developed the theory of the Material Paradigms (2004) that link microstructures to macrostructures in the socio-technical innovation process. She published the first Italian study design-led on Smart Materials defined as Smart, Sensible and Interactive (2008). She defined the Italian Way to Material Design (2005) and developed the Design-driven Material Innovation Methodology (2017), which is currently being broadcast in Europe through the fifty “Design for Enterprises” courses promoted by the European Community and EASME in order to increase the innovative capabilities of SMEs in European countries. In 2006 she founded MAD Materials Design Library at the University of Palermo.
Her present researchers focus in the Emerging Materials through a design approach, in open innovation and in the mediation of design with different disciplines in the materials and products development process.
She is an expert in international communication and design communication. As editor writes for different internationally renowned design magazines (DIID, MD, AIS/Design. Storia e Ricerche, Jaic, Cuaderno). Some of his texts have been adopted at university level schools in Italy and abroad (Politecnico di Milano, La Sapienza of Rome, ISIA of Florence, University of Palermo, ABADIR of Catania, Izmir University of Economics and Jingdezhen University in China).
In the past years, she has been teaching in different Italian Schools of design and she has been a visiting professor abroad in a number of foreign universities (Universidad de Barcellona, UEM in Madrid, IADE in Lisbon, Izmir University of Economics, Universidad de l’Uruguay and Jingdezhen University in China).
From 1998 to 2007 she taught in the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Palermo and 2005 in the University of Catania in Syracuse. Since 2009 she teaches in the undergraduate course in product design of Politecnico di Milano and curates the design workshops in collaboration with companies.
Other research tracks comprise: “the women’s in design” and “the design in the Mediterranean countries.” Within this topics, she curated exhibitions, symposiums, and events in Italy and abroad. Author of different books and essays that connect mini stories with macrostructures of a reinterpretation of the relationship between projects and materials as the dynamic process of the socio-technological innovation.
Ferrara, M., Ceppi, G. (2017) (eds). Ideas and the Matter. Trento: ListLab.
Ferrara, M. (2017). Shifting to Design-driven Material Innovation. In Ferrara, M., Ceppi, G. (eds) Ideas and the Matter, pp. 173-185. Trento: ListLab.
Ferrara, M. (2017). Fundamentals of Material Design Culture. In Ferrara, M., Ceppi, G. (eds) Ideas and the Matter, pp. 157-172. Trento: ListLab.
Ferrara, M., Lecce, C. (2017). Design-driven Material Innovation. In Ferrara, M., Ceppi, G. (eds) Ideas and the Matter, pp. 186-205. Trento: ListLab.
Ferrara, M., Rognoli, V. (2017)(eds) Materialidad difusa. Prácticas de diseño y tendencias. Cuadernos del Centro de Estudios de Diseño y Comunicación, 70.
Ferrara, M., Rognoli, V., Arquilla, V., Parisi, S. (2018) ICS Materiality. In W. Karwowski, T. Ahram (eds) Intelligent Human Systems Integration (pp. 763-769). Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Intelligent Human Systems Integration (IHSI 2018): Integrating People and Intelligent Systems, January 7-9, 2018, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Cham: Springer
Ferrara, M., Russo, C. (2018). Next Smart Design: Inclusion, Emotions, Interaction in the Concept of Baby Soothing, Caring and Monitoring Smart Solutions. In W. Karwowski, T. Ahram (eds) Intelligent Human Systems Integration (pp. 673-679). Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Intelligent Human Systems Integration (IHSI 2018): Integrating People and Intelligent Systems, January 7-9, 2018, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Cham: Springer
Parisi, S., Spallazzo, D., Ferraro, V., Ferrara, M., Ceconello, M. A., Ayala Garcia, C., Rognoli V. (2018). Mapping ICS Materials: Interactive, Connected, and Smart Materials. In W. Karwowski, T. Ahram (eds) Intelligent Human Systems Integration (pp. 739-744). Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Intelligent Human Systems Integration (IHSI 2018): Integrating People and Intelligent Systems, January 7-9, 2018, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Cham: Springer
Lucibello, S., Ferrara, M., Langella, C., Cecchini, C., Carullo R. (2018). Bio-smart Materials: The Binomial of the Future. In W. Karwowski, T. Ahram (eds) Intelligent Human Systems Integration (pp. 745-750). Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Intelligent Human Systems Integration (IHSI 2018): Integrating People and Intelligent Systems, January 7-9, 2018, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Cham: Springer
Carullo, R., Cecchini C, Ferrara, M., Langella, C, Lucibello, S. (2017). From Science to Design: the Design4Materials virtuous cycle. In The Design Journal, 20, sup1, pp. 1794S-1806S. Proceeding of Design for Next, EAD 12 Roma, 12-14 Aprile.
Russo, A.C., Ferrara, M. (2017) Smart Solutions, « Smart Aesthetics »? In The Design Journal, 20, sup1, pp. 342-353.
Ferrara, M. & Lecce C. (2016), The Design-driven Material Innovation Methodology in IFDP`16 – Systems & Design Beyond Processes and Thinking, Universitat Politècnica de València, 2016 pp. 431-448.
Ferrara M., Bengisu M. (2015). Kinetic Materials Experience. In: Design and semantics of form and movement. p. 138-145, Milano.
Ferrara, M. & Lecce, C. (2015), MADEC. Material Design Culture. In E. Duarte, C. Duarte, F. Carvalho Rodrigues (Eds.), Senses & Sensibility ’15: Design as a Trade, proceedings of the UNIDCOM/IADE 8th International Conference, pp. 490-497. Lisbon: IADE-Creative University.
Ferrara, M. (2015). AdvanceDesign: A Renewed Relationship Between Design and Science for the Future. In M. Celi (ed), Advanced Design Cultures, Long-Term Perspective and Continuous Innovation. Cham: Springer, pp. 149-169.
Ferrara, M., Bengisu, M. (2014). Intelligent design with chromogenic materials. In JAIC vol. 12.
Bosoni, G., Ferrara M. (2014) (eds.) Material Design. Learning from the History. AIS/Design. Storia e Ricerche, 4.
Ferrara, M., Bengisu, M. (2013). Materials that Change Color. Smart Materials, Intelligent Design. Cham: Springer.
Ferrara, M., Bengisu, M. 2013. Intelligent design with chromogenic materials. In Rossi, M. (edited by), Colour and Colorimetry. Multidisciplinary Contribution vol. IX B. Atti della IX Conferenza del Colore, Università degli studi di Firenze, 19 – 20 Settembre 2013. Maggioli. pp. 356-369.
Ferrara, M. 2013. Design and Production in Italy from ‘Miracolo economico’ to Present. In PAD journal n. 9/2013. ID 0907.
Ferrara, M. 2012. Materiali e processi produttivi tra anonimati e protagonismi | Anonymity and Protagonism in Materials and Productive Processes. In DiiD n. 55, pp. 62-66.
Ferrara, M. 2012. Creatività e sperimentazione materica. In Paris, T., Cristallo, V., Lucibello, S., Il design italiano 20.00.11 – Antologia. collana comunicare il design italiano innovazione per cultura. Rome: Rdesignpress, pp. 34-36.
Ferrara, M., Lucibello, S. 2012. Teaching material design. In Elena Formia (edited by), Innovation in Design Education. Proceedings of the Third International Forum of Design as a Process. Torino: Umberto Allemandi & C.
Ferrara, M. 2010. AdvanceDesign: scenari, visioni e advanced material per un rinnovato rapporto tra design e scienza. In Celi, M. (a cura di) AdvanceDesign. Visioni, percorsi e strumenti per predisporsi all’innovazione continua. Milano: McGraw-Hill, pp.151-164.
Ferrara, M. 2009. Il design impara dalla natura. In diid n.38, pp. 66-71.
Ferrara, M. 2009. Materiali leggeri per un mondo performante. In EdA n.6, pp. 126 -132.
Ferrara, M., Lucibello, S. 2009. Design follows materials. Firenze: Alinea Editrice.
Cardillo, M., Marinella, F. 2008. Materiali intelligenti, sensibili, interattivi. Materiali per il design. Milano: Lupetti.
Ferrara, M. 2007. When a mistake becomes part of the project. In diid n.24/25, pp. 66-71.
Ferrara, M. 2006. Decoration’s New Life. In diid n.23, pp. 82-87.
Ferrara, M. 2006. La seducente leggerezza dell’oggetto contemporaneo. In gud n.6, pp. 76-81.
Ferrara, M. 2005. Acciaio. 01 materiali per il design. Milano: Lupetti editori di comunicazione.
Ferrara, M. 2005. Bakelite. La ricerca di mercati tra usi e abusi. In diid n.13, pp. 44-49.
Ferrara, M., Cardillo, M. 2005. Luminex. Textiles Italy. In diid n.10-11, pp. 152-155.
Ferrara, M. 2004. Materiali e innovazione nel design. Architettura, urbanistica, ambiente. Roma: Gangemi.
Ferrara, M. 2004. L’altra faccia del design. In diid n.8, pp. 50-57.