This tension between the possible and the aspirational is at the heart of Mattia Santi’s cutting-edge work as Director of SASI Studio in London. “Our mission focuses on the integration of architecture and technology. In our vision, future buildings will be fully interactive and resilient spaces, built with digital fabrication technologies and integrated with the natural environment,” says Mattia.
Equal parts architect and entrepreneur, Mattia is passionate about challenging projects where design and business ideas are directly linked. Before launching SASI last year, he worked in several international practices including Zaha Hadid and Farshid Moussavi on award-winning projects including the Generali Tower in Milan and The Winton Gallery at London’s Science Museum. “Since I was a student I was passionate about entrepreneurship and technology. After several years working on complex buildings and algorithmic design, I decided with my wife, Francesca, to set up SASI to offer a new approach to architecture in which technology and sustainability play a fundamental role... I felt it was time for me to start my own company with my own design agenda; to develop a design approach that takes advantage of the latest technologies including data analysis, digital fabrication and modular construction.”
The Vaults Tower Lobby
“Our mission focuses on the integration of architecture and technology
SASI is a multidisciplinary practice working on projects ranging from product design to urban development. They work with emerging technologies to explore how users interact with spaces and re-think the design process. “We use software platforms that allow us to read and interpret various types of data, from urban data to environmental simulation, from user data to structural analysis.” Mattia believes that this use of data and BIM models allows SASI to improve coordination between stakeholders and communicate concepts more clearly.
“The use of algorithms gives us the possibility to optimise our production pipeline and analyse our buildings from an early design stage in terms of sustainability, light distribution, structural performance and many other functional variables.
This approach allows us to explore for each design problem the entire solution space and make informed decisions. We are also integrating Virtual Reality into our work, both as a tool of communication with clients and as a tool of coordination with contractors. In comparison to traditional rendering, VR gives us the possibility to let our users interact with the 3D models we create.
We are interested in technologies that can bring innovation in the construction industry, in particular digital fabrication applied at difference scales from product design to modular architectural styles.”
City Main Library Gwangju
Mattia and Francesca are nearing the end of an admittedly unpredictable first year with SASI. “It was not easy to start up with all the restrictions imposed by COVID, but what was very helpful for us was the capability to have a fully digital workflow. Our multidisciplinary approach allowed us to work on different types of projects in this period.”
One such project was the Halo Face Shield, which Mattia calls a 3D printing experiment to solve some of the functional challenges he perceived in mainstream protective devices. He’s now looking to architectural opportunities in light of the pandemic. “We developed some research focused on understanding the problems currently affecting the High Streets that have been strongly hit by the restrictions imposed by COVID-19.
We believe that this is an important topic that requires architects to re-think town centres and the role they play in society.”
Folded Beauty 3D Printed Necklace
SASI is currently focussing predominately on high-end residential and mixed-use real estate developments, introducing the market to new spaces for living and working. Always learning, Mattia continues to collaborate with academic institutions to develop research and experimental projects which explore the intersection between architecture and technology. The possibilities are endless for how technology can improve the user experience with physical spaces which, as Mattia says, are becoming ever closer to machines. “In our houses, we have multiple technological devices that help us create the lifestyle we desire... It is now possible to control our homes with a smart phone: light, temperature, remote access, shopping and much more. We believe this integration and new level of interaction requires us to re-think the way we design our buildings and the role each component plays in the overall user experience.”
To learn more about Mattia and SASI studio, visit www.sasi-studio.com and follow their Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram