We help you deliver a new retail experience and design an interactive adventure for your customers. We believe that physical space is essential for engaging with consumers on an emotional level.
We help brands communicate their values with spaces that fully reflect their culture, values and aspirations. With our help, brands are able to impress their customers and grant them memories of an amazing experience.
With the use of digital installations, we turn a learning activity into a journey through the virtual dimension. We integrate cultural aspects into dynamic environments creating an interaction with the visitor in a user-centered way. We make your guests look back on their visit to your shop/restaurant/event for years to come.
While respecting classic Italian design, our exclusive vision and passion for modern technology propel us to the apex of customization. Every part of each project is unique. We use these techniques to design custom-made pieces. We tailor spaces to meet each of our clients’ need. Our approach – Artisanship 2.0 – gives us the upper hand in the ever increasingly competitive architecture industry.
External Reference attracts international talents from the top European design schools. Our multidisciplinary and international team is based in Barcelona, Madrid, and Moscow. We are 30 professionals from over 15 countries and counting.
Our vision is to create emotional spaces that express your values and beliefs to customers.
“We integrate luxury and sustainability, digital and physical, art and technology, adapting these cultural aspects to the needs of our clients in order to shape spaces that reflect both our design philosophy and the client’s unique individuality.”
Carmelo Zappulla, PhD Architect and CEO of External Reference.
Team Leader / Management
Venice, (Italy), 1991. Stefano holds a master’s degree in architecture from the Venice Architecture University (IUAV) from which he graduated with honours. He specialises in project development, detailing and construction. He is the tutor of Representation tools in the Master of Experiential Interior Design at LCI Barcelona.
Team Leader / Computation
Montevideo, (Uruguay), 1990. Sebastian holds a postgraduate master’s degree in Advanced Architecture from the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC). He is currently the head of computation at External Reference and the tutor of Parametric tools in the Master of Experiential Interior Design at LCI Barcelona.
Team Leader / Design
Tehran, (Iran), 1990. Amin holds a postgraduate master’s degree in Advanced Architecture from the IAAC. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at UPC researching functional implementations of computational Design in living Spaces. He leads projects from design to execution and his practice focuses on advanced tools from parametric design to digital Fabrication and AR/VR content.
Team Leader / Experience
Caracas, (Venezuela), 1992. Vianella holds a postgraduate master’s degree in Experiential Interior Design from the LCI Barcelona Design School, obtaining the best master’s degree thesis of the year. She is currently the academic coordinator for the master. She specialises in concept development and customer experience.
Team Leader / Design
Catania, (Italy), 1994. Francesco holds a master’s degree in architecture from SDS Architettura Siracusa. He specializes in project development, from concept design to 3D modeling and construction supervision. He is currently a workshop tutor of “Introduction to lamp design development” in the master of Experiential Interior Design at LCI Barcelona.
Architect / Technical Development
Venice, (Italy), 1990. Ilaria is graduated with honours at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia. She specialized in project development, detailing and construction.
MA Architect / Design & Rendering
Ciudad de Mexico, (Mexico), 1993. Regina holds a postgraduate master’s degree in Experiential Interior Design from the LCI Barcelona Design School. She specialises in 3D visualization and experiential concepts. She is currently a doctoral candidate at UIC researching technology inside architectural design processes.
MAA Architect / Design
Moscow, (Russia), 1988. Irina holds a postgraduate master’s degree in Advanced Architecture from the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC). She is specialized in design and construction supervision.
Architect / Technical Development
Catania, (Italy), 1992. Silvia is graduated at SDS Architettura Siracusa. She is specialized in technical development and design.
Building Engineering / Design
San Benedetto del Tronto, (Italy), 1990. Gianmarco is graduated at Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna. He is specialized in 3D modelling and computational design.
Architect / Computational Design
Munich, (Germany), 1998. Víctor has a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Innsbruck. Currently he is pursuing a Master of Advanced Architecture at IAAC and researching the implementation of text-to-image AI in architecture. As a computational designer his practice focuses on parametric design and digital fabrication. He was a tutor on the postgraduate program Designing Future Realities, teaching AR app development for spatial experiences.
Moscow, (Russia), 1989. Elena holds a postgraduate master’s degree in Advanced Architecture from the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC). She is specialized in design and construction supervision
Syracuse, (Italy), 1986. Alfonso holds a master´s degree in Graphic Design and Website Programming from CIPSA in Barcelona. He is currently head of Graphic Design and Visual Communication at External Reference. He expresses the firm´s design ideas through branded communications and develops visual content for all the studio´s communications.
Senior Architect /Team leader/Project manager
Marina Cella García is an accomplished Senior Architect with a strong track record in leadership and project management roles. She holds a degree in architecture from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in architecture with a specialization in energy and the environment at the University Polytechnic of Catalonia (UPC).
She has also shared her knowledge as a professor at LCI School, where she conducted master classes on environmental subjects. Her expertise extends to overseeing large-scale projects with diverse stakeholders.
She has delivered engaging presentations at conferences and authored compelling articles that have been featured in prestigious publications focused on architecture and sustainability.
Architect / Light Designer
Ciudad de México, (México). Edgar is graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He holds a PhD in Architecture from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. He specializes in Lighting Design
Adrian holds an Architecture masters from the ‘Ion Mincu’ University of Architecture and Urbanism in Bucharest and a Postgraduate in 3D Printing Architecture from the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC). He specializes in additive manufacturing at various scales, parametric design for digital fabrication and BIM task automation. He joined External Reference at the beginning of 2023 as a Computational designer.
Agustina is a master’s graduate in architecture from the Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño y Urbanismo at Universidad de Buenos Aires (FADU-UBA), she has an impressive history in academia, serving as an architecture design tutor at her alma mater from 2018-2020 and an interior architecture tutor at Marbella Design Academy from 2021-2022. With professional experience in Argentina and Spain, she has refined her specialization in interior design and project development. She has recently joined External Reference in early 2023, as a part of the technical development team.
Moscow, (Russia), 1995. Anton holds a Master’s in Advanced Architecture from the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC). He specializes in computational design and digital fabrication.
Júlia is an accomplished architect with a master’s degree from the Lisbon School of Architecture and a postgraduate master’s degree in City & Technology from the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC). She made a significant contribution to the Prototypes for Humanity 2022 exhibition in Dubai’s DIFC, presenting an innovative IAAC project that leverages data analysis and urban planning to address city segregation. With a rich professional background working in architecture firms across Lisbon, Milan, and Barcelona, and undertaking projects spanning Europe and the Middle East, she now enhances the External Reference team as an architect and computational designer.
Napoli, (Italia), 1994. Giulio Montefoschi holds a postgraduate master’s degree in Renewable energy applied to Architecture from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC). He specializes in project development, from concept design to 3D modeling and computational design.
Leia is a notable graduate of the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia with a Masters in Advanced Architecture, she also holds an Honours Bachelors in Architecture from the University of Toronto. Her professional journey has taken her from practicing architecture in Cyprus to currently serving as an Architectural Designer and Graphic Designer in Barcelona at External Reference, where she became a part of the team in March 2023.
Elsa, an architect recognized by La Salle Ramon LLul, holds a master’s degree in both Architecture and Sustainability, as well as Building Technology, from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. Since 2008, she has contributed to diverse projects spanning urbanism, building, and interior design. She joined External Reference in 2023 and had previously been part of the studio in 2012, where she contributed to the Yeosu Spanish Pavilion and Joan d’Austria projects.
Niccolò holds a master degree in Architecture at the Politecnico di Milano with honours. After two years in Milan as project developer he joined External Reference studio in early 2023. He specialises in project development, construction and architectural visualization.
Lisa is a business development specialist in the design, architecture and events markets with over 9 years of experience. She specialises in promoting creative teams, helping to expand their potential geographically and product-wise.
Juan holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya. He obtained a Master’s degree in Operations and Innovation Management from ESADE, He also completed the Program of Management Development (PDD) from IESE Business School at the University of Navarra and studied Digital Business Strategy at MIT Sloan School of Management. He participates in External reference applying his expertise, which lies in turnaround management, where he excels in establishing key partnerships and implementing effective change management strategies in complex environments, ecosystems, and global brands.
Fiorella is Office Manager and Assistant Project Manager with over a decade of experience in administration and project coordination.
Has worked internationally in Qatar, Spain, and Uruguay, offering diverse industry expertise from hospitality to admin and legal services. She holds an EN-SP Translation degree and a Lean Six Sigma certification on Project Management. In 2023, Fiorella assumed the role of Office Manager at External Reference, seeking to enhance the management of the company’s core business processes.
Rosario, (Argentina), 1989. Martina is graduated at Facultad de Arquitectura, Planeamiento y Diseño de Rosario. She specialized in construction supervisión and management and in interior design.
Jihad holds a postgraduate master’s degree in Advanced Architecture from the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC). He specializes is concept design and 3D modeling, and is currently handling communications department.
Iacopo Neri’s research lies at the intersection of architecture, computer science, and urban planning. He has been involved in academia since 2015, researching computational design and geospatial analysis. He has been involved in teaching activities at the University of Florence, The Polytechnic University of Milan, and at IAAC – Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, where he is currently faculty of computational design and part of the Advanced Architectural Group’s Computational Design Research Team. Additionally, Iacopo has been guest faculty for workshops, lecture and invited critic in several international universities among which the AA – Architectural Association, the New York Institute of Technology, the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires, and the Ecole des Ponts – ParisTech. Iacopo has been practicing in Italy, Kosovo, and Spain. Since 2017 he collaborates with External Reference.
Jose Manuel Loncarich, Architect and Marketing Technician. Graduated from U.M. University of Mendoza, Argentina. MBArch in Project-Process and Programming, ETSAB, U.P.C, Barcelona.
Bogotá, (Colombia), 1993. María José has a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Universidad de los Andes, Colombia. With work experience in construction in both Colombia and Norway for over 3 years. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Experiential Interior Design at LCI Barcelona.
Itzal is an Interactive Experience Designer from the Elisava School of Design and Engineering of Barcelona.
She also holds a postgraduate master’s degree in Experiential Interior Design from the LCI Design School of Barcelona.
Clara holds a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from the University of Paris. She is currently doing her Master’s in Interior Architecture and Luxury Scenography in Paris. She joined External Reference as an intern in April 2023.
Cinthya is a Peruvian architect and project manager graduated from UNIFE and holds an MBA from Centrum PUCP, specializing in International Management from EADA and Advanced Quality Management from COMILLA Madrid. She is currently completing a Master’s degree in Experiential Interior Design from LCI Barcelona. She joined External Reference in 2023.