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Alessandra Cianchetta is a leading architect and a founding partner at AWP office for territorial reconfiguration (Paris-London). Current projects include the design of a 70,000sq metre public and mixed-use space below La Grande Arche at La Défense, Paris which will transform the cityscape. Her work has been presented at and is part of the collections of museums and venues worldwide such as MAXXI in Rome, City of Architecture and Heritage, Paris, MoMA Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Storefront for Architecture & Art and Architecture in New York, the Design Museum in London and has been featured in NY Times, Wallpaper, The Guardian, PIN UP magazine and BBC, among other media. Her work has been selected for the Lisbon Architecture Triennial in 2016 and for the Chicago Architecture Biennale in 2017.

If there was one piece of art you could feature in, which would it be and why?

I would have to say F Scott Fitzgerald’s novels for their atmosphere of frivolity and poignant depth, and indeed some of Nabokov’s stories for their multi-faceted sense of possibility.

Who inspires you and why?

Great writers and travellers have always inspired me. Joseph Conrad is one I must mention. Then there is the whole Bloomsbury set for their contempt for conventions. Among architects, I would say the bold Lina Bo-Bardi and, my eight-year-old son Tadzio, whose aesthetic discernment has always been infallible.    

What are your cultural aspirations?

I have an infinite appetite and lust for life in its variety. I spend most of my time travelling, designing, creating and enjoying beautiful spaces. Travel is an endless source of inspiration and encounters. I am just back from Burma and New York and on my way to Venice, Chicago and Tel Aviv. Next, an Atlantic crossing on sailings boat as soon as I can. As for work, I would love to design a new kind of space for art where viewers, and beyond, could stay and live. Something mi-chemin, a new type of museum and a hotel–an immersive place, a whole sensual and intellectual experience.

What are your favourite cultural cities?

I was recently in Yangon and could almost move there for a while…

What are you up to at the moment?

I am planning an arts district in a Unesco site in Liverpool, have just completed a museum and a series of follies in Poissy, near Paris, an exhibition for the Louvre and the Italian Embassy in Paris, a major public space below the Grande Arche at La Défense, a new urban extension in Lausanne, Switzerland and a set of drawings, more artwork than architecture, for the next Chicago Architecture Biennial.

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