Mariana Pestana is Invited Assistant Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico and researcher at ITI (Interactive Technologies Institute) where she currently acts as Arts & Culture Coordinator on the Bauhaus of the Seas Sails project. Architect and co-founder of The Decorators, Mariana’s research investigates fiction as a device for critical thinking and for imagining alternative futures. She designs spaces and situations that test possible scenarios and rehearse more-than-human empathic relations. She holds a PhD in Architectural Design from the Bartlett School of Architecture (2019), an MA in Narrative Environments from Central Saint Martins, UAL supported by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (2010) and is formed in Architecture from FAUP, University of Porto (2006). Co-director of the interdisciplinary studio The Decorators, Mariana was the curator and author of the 5th Istanbul Design Biennial titled "Empathy Revisited: designs for more than one" (Onomatopee, 2021), "Fiction Practice" (Onomatopee, 2020), "Eco-Visionaries" (MAAT, Lisbon, Matadero, Madrid and Royal Academy, London), and "The Future Starts Here" (V&A, 2018). She worked as a curator at the Department of Architecture, Design and Digital at the V&A Museum and lectured at Central Saint Martins and Chelsea College of Arts among other universities in the UK, Netherlands and Portugal. Her research work was shown at the Venice Architecture Biennial, Stanley Picker Gallery, Jardins Efémeros, Festival Walk & Talk and Shenzhen Biennial Bi-City of Urbanism and Architecture, and her curatorial work was published in The Guardian, Financial Times, New York Times as well as specialised media such as Frieze, Wallpaper, Icon or Architects Journal.

Personal identification

Full name
Mariana Pestana

Citation names

  • Pestana, Mariana

Author identifiers

Ciência ID

Knowledge fields

  • Humanities - Arts - Architectural design


Language Speaking Reading Writing Listening Peer-review
English Advanced (C1) Advanced (C1) Advanced (C1) Advanced (C1)
French Advanced (C1) Advanced (C1) Advanced (C1) Advanced (C1)
German Beginner (A1) Beginner (A1) Beginner (A1) Beginner (A1)
Spanish; Castilian Intermediate (B1) Intermediate (B1) Intermediate (B1) Intermediate (B1)
Degree Classification
2012/10/01 - 2019/05/28
Architectural Design (Doutoramento)
Major in Arquitectura; curadoria
University College London Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, United Kingdom
"Fictional World Enactments: Curating The Real and Other Fictions at Lisbon Architecture Triennial, 2013" (THESIS/DISSERTATION)
MA Creative Practices for Narrative Environments (Mestrado)
Central Saint Martins, United Kingdom
"Built Speculations: Fictive tools for architectural criticism" (THESIS/DISSERTATION)
Licenciatura em Arquitectura (Licenciatura)
Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Arquitectura, Portugal
"Expor Arquitectura em Português" (THESIS/DISSERTATION)


Host institution
2021/10/15 - Current Researcher (Research) Laboratório de Robótica e Sistemas de Engenharia, Portugal
2021/01/01 - 2021/07/31 Visiting Researcher (Research) Lusófona University Center for Other Worlds, Portugal
Universidade Lusófona, Portugal

Teaching in Higher Education

Host institution
2022/10/15 - Current Invited Assistant Professor (University Teacher) Universidade de Lisboa Instituto Superior Técnico, Portugal
2019/09/09 - 2020/03/08 Assistant Professor (University Teacher) Universidade do Minho - Campus de Azurém, Portugal
2016/10/01 - 2017/07/01 Invited Associate Professor (University Teacher) Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Netherlands
2015/09/01 - 2016/07/01 Invited Associate Professor (University Teacher) Royal College of Art, United Kingdom


Host institution
2010/09/01 - Current Fundadora/ arquitecta e curadora The Decorators , United Kingdom
2024/03/01 - 2028/03/01 Chief Curator - Centro de Arquitectura Centro Cultural de Belém, Portugal
Centro Cultural de Belém, Portugal
2018/08/19 - 2020/11/08 Curadora Geral Istanbul Design Biennial, Turkey
2014/01/04 - 2018/01/11 Curadora Victoria and Albert Museum, United Kingdom
2012/09/01 - 2015/07/30 Assistente Convidada - BA Interior and Spatial Design Chelsea College of Arts, United Kingdom
2012/01/02 - 2013/09/14 Curadora da exposição "A Realidade e Outras Ficções", integrada no programa de "Close, Closer", 3ª edição da Trienal de Arquitectura de Lisboa. Trienal de Arquitectura de Lisboa, Portugal
2012/09/01 - 2013/07/30 Assistente Convidada - BA Architecture Central Saint Martins, United Kingdom
2011/01/01 - 2012/09/01 Editora Geral Design Exchange Magazine, United Kingdom
2011/12/01 - 2012/02/01 Curadora da secção: "Copos de Coleção" na exposição CCC -Collecting Collections and Concepts/Uma viagem iconoclasta por coleções e coisas de assim. Curadoria geral: Paulo Mendes. Guimarães Capital Europeia da Cultura, Portugal
2011/01/01 - 2011/10/01 Curadora da exposição 'The Auction Room' London Design Festival , United Kingdom
2008/10/13 - 2010/12/27 Consultora e arquitecta freelancer Lacoste International , France
2009/06/01 - 2009/08/31 Estágio integrado no Mestrado Creative Practices for Narrative Environments, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design Architecture Foundation , United Kingdom
2007/09/03 - 2008/09/01 Estágio Profissional Rui Mendes Arquitecto, Portugal
2008/01/10 - 2008/07/30 Arquitecta Assistente ao Design da Exposição "Flexibility: Design in Fast Changing Society", Torino World Design Capital 2008 Pedro Gadanho Arquitecto, Portugal
2006/09/01 - 2007/03/30 Estágio Curricular AAS-Gonzalez Haase, Germany


Designation Funders
2024/05/01 - 2027/05/01 TIDALarts
Principal investigator
2021/10/15 - 2024/10/15 BIG ERAChair
Grant agreement ID: 952226
Universidade de Lisboa Instituto Superior Técnico, Portugal


Designation Funders
2023/02/01 - Current Bauhaus of the Seas Sails - BoSS
Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI)
Associação do Instituto Superior Técnico para a Investigação e Desenvolvimento, Portugal

Laboratório de Robótica e Sistemas de Engenharia, Portugal
Horizon Europe


Book chapter
  1. Pestana, Mariana. "Portal Tables: Connecting Multi-Scalar Communities". In A Cidade pelo Ar, edited by Alessia Allegri. Lisboa: Tinta da China, 2022.
  2. Pestana, Mariana. "Arte e Arquitectura, Afinidades Críticas". In Arte Aplicada ao Lugar. 2019.
Conference paper
  1. Pestana, Mariana. "More than human empathy: a caring approach to ecosystemic design". Milão, 2023.
Edited book
  1. Vinagre, Valter; Garcia, Andreia; Giorgi, Emilia; de Simone, Liliana; Pestana, Mariana; Llarch Font, Xavier; Echevarria, Javier. A CIDADE PELO AR | THE CITY UP IN THE AIR. lisboa, Portugal: Tinta da China. 2022.
  2. Pestana, Mariana. Empathy Revisited: designs for more than one. Eindhoven, Netherlands: Onomatopee. 2021.
    Published • Editor
  3. Pestana, Mariana. Fiction Practice: prototyping the otherworldly. Eindhoven: Onomatopee. 2020.
    Published • Editor
  4. Pestana, Mariana. The Real and Other Fictions. 2013.
Exhibition catalog
  1. Pestana, Mariana. The Future Starts Here. Victoria and Albert Museum, 2018.
Journal article
  1. B. Torretta, Nicholas; Pestana, Mariana; Nisi, valentina; Duarte, Frederico; Pedroso-Roussado, Cristiano; Nunes, Nuno Jardim. "Navigating problematic Bauhaus inheritances - a review of critiques, implications and questions for the Bauhaus of the Seas Sails project". Design Issues 40 4 (2024):
    In press
  2. Mariana Pestana; Nunes, Nuno Jardim; Miguel Figueira; José Albergaria ; Alvelos, Heitor; Duarte, Frederico. "The Bauhaus of the Seas: A Manifesto for the New European Bauhaus,". Design Issues 40 2 (2024):
    In press
  1. Nunes, Nuno Jardim; Alvelos, Heitor; Miguel Figueira; Pestana, Mariana; Duarte, Frederico. 2021. Bauhaus of the Seas: a manifesto for the New European Bauhaus. https://bauhaus-seas.eu/.

Artistic / Performance

Artistic exhibition
  1. Joana Pestana; Pestana, Mariana. Eden X 2.0. 2023.
  2. B21A-ABE8-4453; Mariana Pestana. Eden X 1.0. 2022.
  3. Publicani. 2021.
  4. Portal Tables. 2021.
Curatorial / Museum exhibition
  1. 2024. "Index Bienal de Arte e Tecnologia - Coexistence".
  2. 2022. "Index Bienal de Arte e Tecnologia - Surface".
  3. 2018. "Eco-Visionários". In Eco-Visionaries: Art and Architecture After the Anthropocene.

Oral presentation

Presentation title Event name
Host (Event location)
2022/03 More than Human Empathy Circular Cultures: Waste Landscapes
Onassis (Atenas, Greece)
2022/02 More Than Human Empathy MANE Alumni event
Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (Londres)
2022/02 Empatia mais que humana: reações culturais à crise climática Nuit Dés Idées
Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (Lisboa)
2021/09 Empathy as Decentering Caring Assemblies
Bienal de Arquitectura de Veneza (Veneza, Italy)
2021/05/17 Bauhaus of the Seas Basque New European Bauhaus Conference
Tabakalera (Bilbao, Spain)
2021/05/05 Bauhaus of the Seas Conferência Cultura, Coesão e Impacto Social - Presidência Portuguesa do Conselho da União Europeia
Fundação Serralves (Porto, Portugal)
2021/05 Empathy Revisited: designs for more than one Archipelago: Architectures for the Multiverse
HEAD (Geneve, Switzerland)
2021/04/30 More Than Human Empathy Journée d’étude « Savoirs Sensibles : Esthétique et Anthropologie » Plateforme art, design et société
EnsadLab (Paris, France)
2021/04 Empathy Revisited: designs for more than one GSAPP
Columbia University (New York, United States)
2021/04 Empathy Revisited: designs for more than one
Kadir Has University (Istanbul, Turkey)
2021/03 Empathy Revisited: designs for more than one
Royal College of Arts (London, United Kingdom)
2021/03 Empathy Revisited: designs for more than one New Architectures of the Curatorial
Royal College of Arts (London, United Kingdom)
2021/02 Empathy Revisited: designs for more than one
Syracuse University (United States)
2021/01 Portal Tables: connecting multiscalar communities
Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University (Kingston Upon Thames, United Kingdom)
2021 Empathy Revisited: designs for more than one
University of Bergen (Bergen, Norway)
2020/11 Designs for more than one: redefining place and community
KHAUS (Istanbul, Turkey)
2020/03 The Kitchen at 5th Istanbul Design Biennial Parabere Forum
(Istanbul, Turkey)
2020/02 Portal Tables The State of the Art of Architecture
La Triennale (Milano, Italy)
2020/02 Focus Talks is Curatorial in Architecture Creative Exchange: Future Architecture Platform
(Ljubljana, Slovenia)
2019/11 Eco Visionários Mais Importante do que desenhar é afiar o lápis
Porta 33 (Porto Santo, Portugal)
2019/03 Fictional Enactments: a speculative approach to curating Museum Engagement as Speculative Design Symposium
Camberwell College of Arts (London, United Kingdom)
2019/03 Stanley Picker Fellowship Introductory Lecture
Kingston University (London, United Kingdom)
2019/02 Eco Visionaries Art-Science and Anthropocene, H20 Summit
Centro Cultural San Martín (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
2019 Eco Visionaries Broken Natures
La Triennale di Milano (Milano, Italy)
2019 Do Curators Take Risks? How Exhibitions Are Programmed Future Now Symposium
York St John University (York, United Kingdom)
2018/09 The Future Starts Here
Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (London, United Kingdom)
2018/07 The Future Starts Here
Royal College of Arts (London, United Kingdom)
2018/07 The Future Starts Here
Unstudio (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
2018/06 Eco Visionaries Broken Nature Symposium
La Triennale di Milano (Milano, Italy)
2018/06 When my robot learns to love Has Technology Enhanced or Damaged our Experiences? The Arts perspective
One Question Conference (London, United Kingdom)
2018/05 The Future Starts Here Exhibition Opening
V&A - Victoria and Albert Museum (London, United Kingdom)
2018 Engagement and Futurity
Horniman Museum (London, United Kingdom)

Event organisation

Event name
Type of event (Role)
Institution / Organization
2021/04/01 - 2021/06/05 Comité de Organização da conferência Bauhaus do Mar. (2021/05/20 - 2021/05/20)

Evaluation committee

Activity description
Institution / Organization Funding entity
2023/05/12 - 2023/11/02 Membro de painel de avaliação da área de Design, Arquitetura e Urbanismo, Concurso para a Atribuição de Bolsas de Investigação para Doutoramento em todos os Domínios Científicos 2023 – Linha de Candidatura Geral Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portugal

Interview (tv / radio show)

Program Topic
2020/06 - 2020/06 Design in Dialogue: Mariana Pestana Design
2018/09 - 2018/09 Domesticity and Technology, Pillow Talk Conversations Architecture

Other jury / evaluation

Activity description Institution / Organization
2021 - 2021 Director of MediaLab Madrid
2021 - 2021 Conference Steering Committee Porto Design Biennial, Portugal
2020 - 2020 Criatório Câmara Municipal do Porto, Portugal
2019 - 2019 Aesthetica Art Prize York St John University, United Kingdom
2015 - 2015 RIBA President’s Medals SOM Foundation Fellowship Royal Institute of British Architects, United Kingdom
2015 - 2015 ARQUIN-FAD Awards Associació Interdisciplinària de Disseny de l’Espai , Spain

Other distinction

2012 Menção Honrosa - Concurso Performance Architecture
2012 Pré-seleccionada - AHRC Doctoral Award
Arts and Humanities Research Council, United Kingdom
2011 Distinção - MA Creative Practices for Narrative Environments
2011 Concedida: Bolsa Ideias de Origem Portuguesa
2011 Concedida: Bolsa 'Ideas Fund Innovators'
2011 Concedido: Apoio à Internacionalização
2010 Nomeada - ECCA Best Enterprising Project
University of the Arts London, United Kingdom
2009 Concedida: Bolsa de Valorização Profissional no Estrangeiro
Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Portugal