Architect and designer Matteo Thun was born in Bolzano in 1952. He is the son of Countess Thun, the creator of the famous South Tyrolean ceramics that bear her name. He had the opportunity to study with Oskar Kokoschka and Emilio Vedova at the Salzburg International Summer Academy of Fine Arts. He later obtained his degree in architecture in Florence in 1975, studying under Adolfo Natalini. After a long trip to the United States, he settled in Milan and worked for Ettore Sottsass. In 1981, he was one of the founders of the Memphis Group, along with Sottsass, Michele De Lucchi, Aldo Cibic, Marco Zanini and Martine Bedin. The collective was created to oppose the minimalist tendencies of 1970s design, which they believed lacked personality; in fact, Memphis projects were characterised by vivid colours and bold lines.
In 1982, he began teaching Industrial Design and Ceramics at the Universität für Angewandte Kunst (University of Applied Arts) in Vienna. In 1984, he opened an office in Milan, which, in 2001, became Matteo Thun + Partners with Antonio Rodriguez. The firm's work is based on important themes like the aesthetic durability and longevity of buildings and products, especially in terms of their materials and applied technologies. From the prefabricated "O Sole Mio" house in 1990 to the design of the luxury Vigilius Mountain Resort hotel, built according to the highest sustainability standards, the office specialises in contract projects ranging from hospitality to healthcare facilities to the design of corporate headquarters. The office tends to create genuine "villages" as independent ecosystems with differentiated volumes, minimising impacts on the surrounding landscape.
Matteo Thun designs products in diverse sectors - bathroom furnishings for Axent, Duravit, Inda, Fantini and Geberit; furniture and lighting projects like Robin for iGuzzini, Hilow for Panzeri and copper plates for Vimar. He recently launched the Matteo Thun Atelier collection of high quality, handcrafted accessories, including coloured ceramics in different sizes, decorative glass birds and a reinterpretation of the Chiavarina chair. Matteo Thun was awarded the ADI Compasso d'Oro for Design Excellence three times and the 2011 Good Design Award and the Simon Taylor Award for Lifetime Achievement in the same year. He was inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame in New York in December of 2004 and is a member of RIBA, Royal Institute of British Architects.
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