He began his activity as a designer in 1980, an activity basically inspired by new technologies and new communication potentials, elements who began to stand out more and more during those years. Six years later he won the ADI Compasso d'oro. In addition to the one received in 1986 for the book "The matter of the invention" built with Alberto Meda and Ezio Manzini, he received another in 2004 with the Vivawine bottle holder for Morellato. In 1999 he was awarded the Good Design Award by the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and in April 2000 he was awarded again in two sections at Design World. In 2010 he won the Italian Academy of Art Fashion Design “Pyramid of Excellence”prize. Santachiara was internationally considered the inspirer and author of neo-techno-poetic design in the 1980s. In 2016 he was the winner of the Marmomac Icon Award and in 2017, the Digital Design Award for CYRCUS.IT, a platform producing design with digital fabrication.