A graduate of the Politechnico di Milano, Piva founded Studiodada Associates, which is regarded as one of the best design studios of the Radical period. Piva has long been an advocate of international design collaboration, founding the IDA (International Design Agency), an Italian interface for a World Design Network system in 1987, being a member of the Presidential Board of Associazione per il Disegno Industriale (ADI), the Industrial Design Association in Italy between 1987 and 1990, an Italian Commissioner for the European Community Spring project for innovation and technology transfer from 1988 to 1991, and was a co-founder of the EDEA (European Design Expert Association),
Piva founded his own brand, Studio Marco Piva, in Milan in 1990 and later established "Atelier Design", a design cell inside the structure of his own practice, where research and development are the fundamental keys of design. Marco Piva Atelier Design has designed for the most prestigious interior design brands: A Project, Altreforme, Alma Design, Antonio Lupi, Arflex, Arpa Industriale, Arte Brotto, Bencore, Bross, Cabas, Caleido, Casalgrande Padana, Casamilano, CCM, Ceramica Cielo, Citco, Confalonieri, Colombo Design, Corinto, De Majo, Deko, Driade, Ege, Estro, Etro Home, Euromobil, Formitalia, Frati, Fuli, Gaggiolini, Gattoni Rubinetteria, Glamora, Gervasoni, Jab Anstoetz, Jacuzzi, Kreoo, Kvadrat, IGV, I Guzzini Illuminazione, Illulian, Iwishyou, L’Abbate, La Murrina, Lamm, Lapis, Leucos, Lithea, Lualdi, Mandelli1953, Marioni, Meritalia, MisuraEmme, Moroso, Natuzzi, Nito, Novello, Oak, Oikos, Okite, Omnitex, OnHouse, Penta, Pierantonio Bonacina, Poliform, Poltrona Frau, Potocco, Rapsel, Reflex, Rever, Riva1920, Rubelli Casa, Schonhuber Franchi, Sahrai, Serralunga, Sicis, Sirrah, So Far So Near, Stella Rubinetterie, Tisettanta, Unopiù, Up Group, Valpra, Vitaera, VDA, Visionnaire, Via Della Spiga, W52, Zonca.
Between 1997 and 2002 Piva co-ordinated the Hot Group (Hotel Technologies Group), the first interdisciplinary group of companies in technologies for hotel and hospitality clients.
Since 1999 he has engaged in teaching positions at universities and design institutes globally, organising the post-graduate Master's degree programme at the Politecnico di Milano, the Scuola Politecnica di Design (Polytechnic School of Design) and the Istituto Europeo di Design (European Institute of Design) in Milan. From 2007 to 2009 he was a Scientific Curator of the Italian Contract Design, a project of Federlegno Arredo and since 2010 has been an active participant in the academic activities of the De Tao Masters Academy in Beijing and the Tongji University in Shanghai.
Piva is a Professor of Interior Design at the Politecnico di Milan and since 2018 has collaborated on the Master .Lab in Design Direction: Communication & Management at the Iulm University of Milan.