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Interview with Matteo Thun, architect and designer

The star architect from Bolzano is one of the great names in Italian design. Thun is considered a pioneer in ecological building, since he was the first to create a prefabricated solar house or place trees in a living room. According to his interview with the newspaper “Die Zeit”, his concern is always about reconciling humans and nature.

 

The star architect from Bolzano is one of the great names in Italian design. Thun is considered a pioneer in ecological building, since he was the first to create a prefabricated solar house or place trees in a living room. According to his interview with the newspaper “Die Zeit”, his concern is always about reconciling humans and nature.

At this year’s “THINK NEXT by Franke” summit, Matteo Thun talked  about herbal architecture and its relation to nature. In addition, he shared with us some interesting insights about his work and inspiration.

 

What are the smallest buildings with the biggest impact on the architecture industry?

The hay barns (Heustadl) in the Alps. The traditional structure, the additional emotional benefit, and the beautiful “patina” have influenced wooden architecture the most.

Moreover, I think that the alpine hay barn represents a movement to finally overcome the era of concrete that dominated the 20th century.

 

What interior design details make a home wonderful to live in?

I believe in sensorial surfaces.

 

What technological trends will have a major impact in the home & living area?

An invisible digitization and simplification when it comes to interface management.

 

Will demographic changes in the next decades affect how we plan buildings and cities?

Yes, we need to consider phases of life! Estimates predict that 40 percent of the inhabitants of Switzerland will be older than 65 in 2050; one in three Germans will be older than 60. This assumption forces us architects to plan concepts that respect different phases of life.

 

What inspires you when communicating with designers and famous chefs?

They are driven by simplicity, freshness, and a local purchasing strategy – so am I.

 

What is your favorite hotel / coffee place / kitchen?

Talk to my wife!

 

What makes Franke such a wonderful and important brand?

Franke’s holistic approach makes it an ideal problem solver for all architects and interior designers: We need interface problem solvers like Franke!

 

How does food influence your work? Are there any specific veggies or fruits that are an inspiration?

Food means nature, and nature means pure energy, beauty, and sustainability.

 

What will be the most relevant trends in architecture in the next 2-3 years?

Health. “Healthy living” and “botanical architecture” will play a decisive role.

Nature will be an integral part of architecture and interior design.

 

What architects and interior designers will have a major impact on tomorrow´s world?

Those who work on products and projects that combine traditional know-how and innovative solutions.  The so-called “starchitects” will be replaced by anonymous creatives from the Y and Z generation – they are the up-and-coming digital superstars.

 

What have been the most impressive architectural achievements in the last years?

Both learning from the simplicity of the architecture of former centuries and bringing new solutions into today’s construction methods and speeding up processes with BIM – Building Information Modelling – this will produce new space for creativity.

 

What regions or what megacities will be the architecture trendsetters in the next years?

Megacities such as Shanghai….

 

Biography

Matteo Thun, architect and designer, was born in Bolzano, Italy in 1952. He studied at the Salzburg Academy with Oskar Kokoschka and at the University of Florence. After meeting Ettore Sottsass, he became a co-founder of the ‘Memphis’ group in Milan and was a partner at Sottsass Associati from 1980 to 1984.  He was a professor of design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna (Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst) from 1983 to 2000. In 1984, he opened his own studio in Milan and was the art director for Swatch from 1990 to 1993. In 2001, he established Matteo Thun + Partners.

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