carlo ratti associati and italo rota have collaborated on the design of the MAE museum — a museum dedicated to carbon fiber in piacenza, italy. commissioned by MAE, the museum will not only showcase the material’s ecological potential throughout the exhibition, but also along its structure which will be built using both new and recycled fiber. 

carlo ratti + italo rota reveal plans for a museum dedicated to carbon fiber in italy
images courtesy of carlo ratti associati



lightweight and highly-resistant, carbon fiber is used from aerospace to the automotive industry, all the way to sporting goods like tennis rackets, golf clubs and archery bows among others. it is made from acrylic fiber which is transformed into carbon fiber through a complex chemical process, MAE’s specialty. the museum itself will pursue a circular approach to design, being built largely out of carbon fiber. robots will guide visitors along the museum’s extensive archive of acrylic fiber technologies, documenting scientific advancements in the development of the material.

carlo ratti + italo rota reveal plans for a museum dedicated to carbon fiber in italy



‘from high-performance bikes to the lamborghini aventador car, carbon fiber is driving innovation in multiple sectors. the MAE museum celebrates a defining material of modernity, by focusing on its new circular frontier and envisioning new applications for its use,’ said carlo ratti, founding partner at CRA and a professor at the massachusetts institute of technology (MIT). ‘we are delighted to work with MAE, a company whose history and know-how pioneered the transition from the original use of acrylic fiber in clothing to today’s use of carbon fiber in industries as varied as aerospace and automotive.’

carlo ratti + italo rota reveal plans for a museum dedicated to carbon fiber in italy



located inside a renovated warehouse, the museum has been conceived as a twofold journey — from past to future. upon entrance, visitors will come across a robotic, light-filled archive warehouse, complete with MAE’s historical documents. the mechanical arms move along the walls to showcase photos, technical dossiers and campaigns from the brand’s 50-year history. following that, visitors are directed to a large corridor where they can witness the process in which acrylic fiber is transformed into carbon fiber. after this, the second part of the museum unfolds, dedicated to the use of fiber in contemporary industry.



project info:


name: MAE museum
a project by: CRA-carlo ratti associati
creative lead and museum curatorship: italo rota
CRA team: carlo ratti, andrea cassi (partner in charge), chiara morandini (project manager), iratxe de dios
italo rota building office: italo rota, francesca grassi
renderings by CRA graphic team: gary di silvio, pasquale milieri, gianluca zimbardi