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Matteo Thun is another top example that pretty much defined many of the trends seen today in regards to Italian Architecture. Currently living and working in Milan city and with a very multicultural background, this man has created a solid legacy that turned him into a top reference today. Milan Design Agenda will be taking you on an incredible interview with the incredible designer.
Matteo Thun was born in Bolzano, Italy, in 1952. He started giving his very first steps into this industry when he studied at the Salzburg Academy under Oskar Kokoschka. He took his degree in architecture in Florence in 1975 with Adolfo Natalini. When he moved to Milan in 1978, he met and started working with Ettore Sottsass which had a great influence in his professional course. In regards to his way of handling the difficult moments in one’s career, Thun replied that the simplest solution is to “…take a new white piece of paper and start out again”.
He’s also often mentioned as the man who was a co-founder of the Memphis group, known for being a design movement which shaped events in the eighties, not to mention the fact that he was the Creative Director of Swatch in 1990-93. However, the pinnacle that still remains today in regards to his career came with the creation of Studio Matteo Thun in Milan in 1984.
Right now Matteo Thun and Partners is a company that has its offices in Milan and Shanghai, where the team works on a large scale of projects regarding architecture, interiors and product design. Matteo Thun and his team are the types of designers who have a multicultural, holistic approach both in small – and large – scale projects. Having a large clientele from many backgrounds of hospitality, the team is used to dealing with a variety of matters in that regard, such as private residences, headquarters and other corporate e buildings, as well as designing their own products from tableware to bathroom collections.
“In my offices in Milan and Shanghai, we work on architecture, interior and product design. We esteem a multicultural, holistic approach both in small – and large – scale projects. I enjoy my work in all different segments. Whenever I start to sketch something new, I just love it. I don’t feel I’m at work. I do have fun with what I do.”
Right now encompassing a team of 70 interdisciplinary architects, interior, product and graphic designers, Matteo Thun & Partners is the type of company that works from micro to macro scales with a special focus given toward the management of highly complex projects. Another area that the company focuses on in all their projects, in general, is deeply related to Wellbeing. Being directly applied to their design philosophy, it’s a philosophy in which the relationship between patients and the physical environment around them becomes the primary concern in the conception of living space.
“Our clients range from all the fields of hospitality, we realize private residences, headquarters and other corporat e buildings, we design products from tableware to bathroom collections and create our own products via Matteo Thun Atelier. Our work stands for timeless simplicity.”
When it comes to achieving everything he wanted in life, Matteo Thun replied that his path in that sense is always ongoing. He admitted to being the type of person who likes “to always look for new solutions, to always learn”. That tendency of his is also shown particularly in the way that he communicates his projects:
“In general I do a watercolour to visualize the architectural idea of the project or the main features of a product – but the sensitive approach to our client’s vision and a strong and close dialogue is essential: finding the soul of the place (in architecture) and the soul of the company (in design).”
From Matteo Thun’s point of view regarding design, trends are elements that come and go. The way the Italian architect sees it, designers don’t pursue design modernity, instead opting to go for consistency in all scope of their work. As a matter of fact, the “Made in Italy” brand is still relevant, seen as the company just launched “a wooden chair – collection produced by Fratelli Levaggi, a small manufacturer in Liguria, Italy”.
Among some of the most relevant awards that came into Matteo Thun’s way, we definitely need to mention one of his most recent ones: this year he won the Red Dot Award for Product Design in the category: Interior-Architecture and Interior Design thanks to his take on the Waldhotel Health & Medical Excellence. However, his very first prize came all the way back in 1987, when he won Design of the year in Austria thanks to his conception of Via Col Vento for Campari.
Among other relevant prizes, we point to the ADI Compasso d’Oro Award for design excellence three times and the time when he was shortlisted again for the Girly product line for Catalano in 2004. He also was recognized when his Side Hotel in Hamburg was chosen as Hotel of the Year in 2001, his Vigilius mountain resort won the Wallpaper Design Award in 2004 and the Radisson SAS Frankfurt was chosen as the “best hotel opened in the year” in the Worldwide Hospitality Awards in 2005.
When it comes to conclusions regarding the future of design for Matteo Thun, he emphasized that “The survival and innovation of crafts”, is definitely the change he hopes to see in the design community.