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Matteo Thun is not a man you can put in a box. Working across many disciplines for over 20 years, the creative output of Thun is frankly astonishing. Obviously born with design deep-set in his bones, the Bolzano-born South Tyrolean studied architecture at the University of Florence before setting up a studio which eventually became Matteo Thun & Partners with fellow designer Antonio Rodriguez.
Thun’s talents are not confined to one area; broadly speaking he is one of hospitality’s design hero’s, but digging deeper into his treasured archive, the breadth and depth of his work is as fascinating as it is purposeful. With at least three prongs to consider, Thun simultaneously designs and innovates within the medium of interiors, product design and architecture. Achieving highly in equal parts at each, Thun has created balanced pillars of success, with an aesthetic that stays within the parameters of simplicity, durability and lightness.
From his product portfolio, work with Campari in 1986 to design a V-shaped glass that was perfect for shaking or pouring, shows his eye for finding the sweet spot between style and function. A luxe collaboration with Bulgari allowed for a classic wristwatch style and Murano glass vases for Venini - produced translucent, blown glass bottles which emphasized the sensorial qualities. In tandem with this, Thun’s interiors include amongst many - furniture design and key pieces for the home, hotel or public space including wood saunas, modular lighting systems, smooth and tactile door handles, functional and stylish taps, armchairs and sofas including the simply silhouetted Rito chair.
It’s perhaps Matteo Thun’s architecture that says the most about him and has certainly provided the international stage with his respectful, sensitive style full of soul, which at the same time pushes boundaries to create new experiences – or in his words, “if you dare to do something new, to cross borders, you can experience new knowledge.”, certainly visible in the ‘floating’ water houses of Hamburg, a futuristic opera house in China and a hidden resort, lakeside in Germany.
It also allows us to see how sustainability, a much-used word today, was a driving factor in Matteo Thun’s work even from 20 years ago. A pioneer of eco-design long ahead of the curve, Thun sought to understand the link between nature and architecture, plus design buildings to last using materials with durability in mind.
Aficionados collective member vigilius mountain resort is a case in point. The hotel takes inspiration from its environment, mimicking the structure of a fallen tree. By using local and natural materials such as wood and stone, it brings about a nature-integrated architecture that is perfectly in tune with sustainability. The hotel was rewarded with the first ClimaHotel certification, amongst other design awards.
Today Matteo Thun & Partners multicultural and multi-faceted architecture and design studio embrace the next modern-day challenge. Watch out for a run of logic-defying architectural pieces, the continuation of sustainability practices and no doubt a surprise or two from this maverick visionary.