The pair carries out research activities at the Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano, where they have a permanent collaboration with all the main international space agencies and industries, as well as important design companies developing projects for extraterrestrial habitats and objects to increase the performance and well-being of astronauts in confined and reduced gravity environments.
Their projects have been shown in multiple prestigious exhibitions, including the last 23rd International Triennial Unknown Unknowns: An Introduction to Mysteries (Milan 2023).
Their scholarly publications on design culture have helped establish the strategic role of design for space around the world. Recent works include: Cities of the Universe. What It Will Be Like to Live in Space (il Saggiatore, 2023), Designing Support Systems for Life in Outer Space: A Design Perspective on Space Missions Near Earth and Beyond (Springer, 2021), Space Design Learning: An Innovative Approach of Space Education Through Design (69th International Astronautical Congress, 2018), Space4Inspiration – Survival Lab: Designing Countermeasures for Natural Disasters (Design Journal, 2017), For Designers with Their Heads Beyond the Clouds (Maggioli, Politecnica Editorial Series, 2015).
In 2016, they were invited to lead “Couture in Orbit” for Italy, the world’s first fashion tech project, curated by the European Space Agency (ESA). The capsule collection integrated space technologies with clothes created to be worn on Earth, and was presented at the London Science Museum.
Dominoni and Quaquaro have run the world’s first and only Space Design course since 2017, titled “Space4InspirAction,” and supported by the European Space Agency. The course was created at the School of Design of the Politecnico di Milano, as part of the International Integrated Product Design master’s degree.
In 2019, on commission from Thales Alenia Spazio, they developed a new space station concept, introducing an entire habitable module for astronaut entertainment, and promoting the cutting edge of design for space: the “sensory” environment.
In 2011, they founded the design studio (a+b) dominoni quaquaro, which operates in very different design areas: transportation design for big industry, fashion tech, collections of objects and furniture for companies, and limited editions for art and design galleries. They designed the new Leonardo trains of the Milan subway for ATM produced by Hitachi Rail Italy in 2015 and the Pinna acoustic objects for Caimi Brevetti in 2019. Both projects received the ADI Design Index – Compasso d’Oro Award XXV, Premio Eccellenze della Lombardia, and DIA Design Intelligence Award in 2020.
They are Italian Design Ambassadors, have been visiting professors at the world’s most prestigious international universities, and are frequent guest speakers at international conferences, scientific events, and television broadcasts.
Annalisa Dominoni was founder of the Millennium Charter of Space Architecture in Houston in 2002. She was Principal Investigator of several astronaut equipment experiments that she designed and tested at the International Space Station (ISS), including: VEST. Integrated Clothing System for Intra-Vehicular Activities, MARCO POLO Mission, ASI, for which she received the Compasso d’Oro XX Award for Research; GOAL, Garments for Orbital Activities in weightLessness, ENEIDE Mission, ESA, for which she received the Eneide Mission Award for mission success. Her design career was launched by winning the prestigious Compasso d’Oro XVII Award at a very young age, as well as the MAGa National Visual Arts Award and The Targa Bonetto Award, and awards for her scientific and research activities such as the European Space Agency Scientific Award for Young Researchers.
Benedetto Quaquaro comes from a family of antiquarians and art dealers, from whom he absorbed a love of detail and passion for collaborating with artists. He began designing at Tecno, developing environments and products with prestigious architects such as Norman Foster and Gae Aulenti. He next handled the brand ABV, a collection that grouped the iconic Borsani pieces with a series collaborating with major artists such as Getulio Alviani, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Luigi Veronesi and Bruno Munari. He has curated several art events and exhibitions. His curiosity has driven him to design in a wide variety of fields, from promotional products for Ferrero, to architecture, a field in which he carried out major restoration work in Italy, from industrial construction in China for Foster & Wheeler to the overhead seats of the Cesa 1882, the multiple-world champion offshore boat.