Research Center /


The Gianfranco Ferré Research Center, Digital Innovation for the Creative and Cultural Industries was established in December 2021 by Politecnico di Milano following the Ferré family’s donation of the Gianfranco Ferré Foundation’s archives and headquarters.

Under the coordination of the Fashion in Process Research Laboratory of the Department of Design, the Research Center intends to bring together the technical-scientific know-how and design culture that characterize the identity of the Politecnico di Milano with the material and immaterial heritage related to the history, culture and techniques of fashion preserved and valorized by the Gianfranco Ferré Foundation.

Through research in the field of digital innovation, the Research Center aims to investigate, develop and experiment with advanced techniques for the visualization, representation and use of material artifacts with a high cultural content, typical of the creative and cultural industries that represent a distinctive identity element of Italian Culture and its recognition and positioning in the international arena.

The Research Centre is based on an interdisciplinary vision capable of combining heritage with innovation and technology and integrates a deep domain knowledge in design and fashion with ICT, User Experience and User Interaction skills. It is an interdepartmental Research Centre involving different disciplinary components of the University: Department of Design, Department of Mechanics, Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering and the Department of Mathematics.

The Research Centre is an integral part of the Library and Historical Archives system of the Politecnico di Milano. The system, which works for the preservation, inventorying and valorisation of the numerous archives managed by Politecnico di Milano, is characterised by heterogeneity in terms of the disciplinary fields involved, ranging from engineering to architecture and design, and represents a unicum in the field of archival and documentary assets linked to creative, technical and design fields. The Research Centre fits into this system by integrating the dimension of design culture in the fashion field and an innovation programme aimed at the creative and cultural industries supported by a solid background in management and the development of research and innovation projects supported by the integration of new technologies.


The Research Centre intends to promote the dissemination of culture linked to the material and non-material heritage of the fashion sector by proposing dissemination, teaching and increased use of the heritage itself through the use of new technologies, which are used both as tools for the sustainable protection of the heritage and as tools for its dissemination and activation.

More specifically, the Research Centre has among its aims:

. the exploration of the potential offered by recent digital technological implementations that can transform the archive into an augmented archive, an immersive environment in which each component of a “real” collection is provided with virtual insights and more detailed information that amplify the context in which the item is displayed, experimenting with interrelationships with other archives/contents and transforming user involvement into an interactive and intertextual experience;

. the dissemination of fashion culture through the enhancement of the archive and the design of a model for the dissemination of creative and technical culture in the fashion field that favours the interaction of different audiences with its tangible and intangible heritage;

. the exploration of scenarios and application prototypes developed by the research centre in the broader spectrum of creative and cultural industries that characterise the identity of Made in Italy;

. the activation of new training paths capable of enhancing archival materials (artefacts and documents) and the knowledge related to them (processes and their narration) through the use of advanced technologies and their integration within executive and academic training programmes at the School of Design and the Department of Design of the Politecnico di Milano.