Cesare Leonardi (Modena, 1935) enrolled at the Faculty of Architecture in Florence in 1956, where he attended the courses taught by Adalberto Libera, Ludovico Quaroni and Leonardo Savioli, under whom he graduated in 1970. From 1963 to 1983 he lead a studio in Modena with Franca Stagi; together they would deal with industrial design, architecture and the planning of green areas. From 1983 Leonardi set out on an independent professional path revolving around experimentation in the fields of design and urbanism

Emblematic of Leonardi's work is his twenty-year long study of trees "Alberi", developed together with Franca Stagi, which takes a concrete shape in the creation of parks and promotes a concept of the city based on the balance between people and nature. Similarly, in the field of design, the success obtained in the 1960s-1970s with the chairs Dondolo and Nastro was followed by the production of modular furniture created for personal use in his workshop, the "Solidi" (Solids), a reaction to a trend that is still influencing the market, trades, and the idea of design itself.

Solids and Trees represent the two pivotal points around which the School is organized. On different but complimentary scales, they provide participants with a concrete field of application and a potential interpretative key for contemporary design dynamics.