Matteo Thun, a world-renowned architect and designer, was one of the co-founders of the Memphis Group, a design movement that helped shape form and style throughout the 1980s. A native of Bolzano, Italy, Thun trained under the great Austrian Expressionist Oskar Kokoschka and went on to design watches for Bulgari and Swatch, glasses for Campari, espresso cups for Illy and Lavazza, and several hotels, including the Vigilius Mountain Resort in South Tyrol.
Q: What is the one thing you alway travel with?
Sketchbook and pencils. Wherever I am, I draw in my black notebook.
Q: Who or what inspired you to become an architect?
I was raised in South Tyrol, Italy, by a creative mother. She made me play with clay. I think that the region’s beautiful nature, the Dolomites, and my mother’s pure eye working on her ceramics molded my aesthetics. I am very grateful for this!
Q: What are your favourite secret places to visit in your home city?
Well, the Brera district of Milan is the place where I live and work, and I know every angle there. I never miss the ‘edicola’—the kiosk around the corner from my office that sells a wide array of international publications. And I have lunch or dinner at the Latteria on San Marco. Simple things in simple places.
“Every great architect is – necessarily – a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his age.”
Q: Describe an unforgettable original experience you had while traveling?
When I met [Italian architect and designer] Ettore Sottsass at JFK Airport in New York. I was very young but spontaneously I introduced myself, not knowing that this was the beginning of a long relationship or that he would become the cornerstone for Sketchbook and pencils.
Q: What is inspiring you at the moment?
Nativeness. This is why I very much enjoy working with craftsmen. Originality and individuality have inspired a new project that brings together the know-how found in architecture and craftsmanship. The result is a collection of entirely handcrafted objects, furniture, and lighting items that one can personalize.
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