WE DESIGN WITH AN INNOVATION-ORIENTED MINDSET

OVER MANY YEARS, WE HAVE SHAPED OUR IDENTITY.

We turn prosaic affairs into memorable journeys with light, colour and sound.
COMBINING DIGITAL
WITH PHYSICAL

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.

COMMUNICATING BRAND INDIVIDUALITY

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.

CREATING IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCES

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.

PROVIDING ULTIMATE CUSTOMIZATION

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.

OUR DESIGN
PROCESS
FEASIBILITY STUDY
Client’s goals alignment
Project limitations analysis
Assessment of options
CONCEPT
DESIGN
Research & Analysis
Concept Design
Preliminary architectural design
Storytelling definition
Context matrix definition
Main elements definition
Preliminary cost estimation
BASIC
DESIGN
3D model

2D drawings
DESIGN DEVELOPMENT
Architectural design & drawings
Interior design
Experience design
BIM model
AVL design
EXECUTION
Blueprints elaboration 
Computational design
Digital fabrication

Subcontractors definition & management 

Cost Control
CONSTRUCTION SUPERVISION
Artistic direction
Project Management
Assembly control
Inauguration creative & production management
OUR TECHNOLOGIES
We use cutting-edge technologies in modern European labs to deliver highly customized bespoke projects. In this way, we develop novel concepts presenting people with original experiences.
WHO WE ARE

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.

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Stefano Fontolan

Architect
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.  

Sebastian Amorelli

MAA Architect
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.  

Amin Bigdeli

MAA Architect
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. 

Vianella Maestra

MA Architect
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. 

Francesco Sacconi

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.

Ilaria Rampazzo

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.

Regina Garcia

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.

Irina Shaklova

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. 

Iacopo Neri

MAA Architect / Computational Designer

Milan, (Italy), 1993.  Iacopo holds a Master of Science in Architecture and architectural engineering at Polytechnic di Milano. He specialises in masterplan development and complex parametric geometries.

Elena Mitrofanova

Architect / Design

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. 

Forum Shah

Interior Designer / Retail design

Bharuch, (India), 1995. Forum holds a postgraduate degree in Management and Communication of an Applied Design Project by ISEC Lisbon and a master’s degree in Retail Design by ELISAVA. She specialises in site construction management and design coordination. 

Silvia Signorello

Architect / Design

Catania, (Italy), 1992. Silvia is graduated at SDS Architettura Siracusa. She is specialized in technical development and design. 

Gianmarco Daniele

Building Engeneering / 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. 

Edgar Dominguez

Architect / Lighting Specialist

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.

Marina Cella

Architect / Sustainability

Buenos Aires, (Argentina). Marina holds a PhD in Architecture, Energy and Environment from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. She specializes in materials, sustainability and residential design.

Alfonso Peralta

Graphic Designer

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.

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