PIU: Project In Use —or Progetto In Uso in Italian— is a flexible network of professionals from various disciplines related to the project.

Founded in 2004 by Stefano Benatti and Luca Pastorini, the network comprises architects, landscape architects, designers, economists, performers, experts in electronic interactivity, experts in sustainable architecture, who share the idea that the use must guide the design of the project.  The members of the PIU network are based in Rome, Paris and Shanghai. The PIU network is flexible and can vary its configuration according to the needs of the project.  The fields of expertise offered by the network range from design practice and applied research, to urban economics, the social sciences, communications, expo design and electronic interaction between the space and its users.

The shared approach to architectural design is based on the concept of flexibility, understood as the search for new degrees of freedom for the user as well as for the designer. Flexibility is the foundational strategy of our open structure. We study new forms of the construction process’s openness to the many specialized technicians who intervene in the construction site.  The result is the emergence of new forms of creativity and participatory design. The open structure is a strategic tool for studying the elements of a structural indeterminacy of the program. It is intended as a stable, conceptual and practical reference grid to conceive open source design and to effect the integration of technological components into architecture.

The concept of flexibility is applied to restoration and urban recovery in terms of the reversibility of interventions, both in theoretical research and building site preservation techniques.

The integration of the components is in fact the basis of an operative and realistic approach to environmental sustainability and energy saving. The eco-friendly approach is applied in terms of use through the strategic creation of conditions for self-production of energy and through the study of customized environmental comfort, thus bringing us back to our main focus of customization and dynamic adaptivity of architectural space.

The acronym PIU – which means “plus” in Italian –  indicates the opportunity to join together temporarily, creating a flexible tool for design professionals and researchers in the belief that the result of a network is greater than the sum of its parts.