VMSD - June 2016 - (Page 56)
C O u R t E Sy O f M At t E O t H uN + pAR tNE R S, M i LAN
Interview by Steve
The influential, award-winning Italian architect and designer co-founded The
Memphis Group in 1981 to break the rules and loosen the grip of functionalism.
What inspired you as a young man in
Architects in Italy were forced to work in small
scale after the war. This is why a lot of Italian architects started to create product design and worked
"from spoon to city." (In reference to Ernesto
Nathan Rogers' well-known slogan.) Furthermore,
all elements of culture - music, art, fashion, design,
even the high quality of food - have meant a lot to
Italians ever since the war. This historic sense of
beauty may still influence us today.
Are there early sources of inspiration
that remain a part of your work today?
I studied at the Salzburg Academy in Austria with
the artist and writer Oskar Kokoschka. He taught
me to see; to capture key parts of objects in a
very short period of time. The design approach of
Ettore Sottsass, the Italian architect and designer,
to search constantly for innovative technical solutions, influences all segments of my work. I am
always searching for innovation - in architecture,
interior and product design.
What was The Memphis Group trying to
say about form and style?
We played with colors and shapes inspired by
movements such as art deco and pop art, the
kitsch of the '50s and futuristic themes. We
approached design in a different way, finding
new extremes of language as an alternative to the
unimaginative functionalism. We wanted to break
Your resume includes hotels, hospitals,
offices and residences. How do you
develop the statement for each?
When preparing a new project, we go to the site
and analyze the genius loci, the spirit of the site,
with its cultural and historical background, its
climate and morphology, its flora and resources
- [this] determines the creative process. Often,
I try to visualize the ideas by using watercolors
or drawings. When it comes to retail or product
design, we deeply analyze the brand's nature,
study the spirit and signature, and try to understand and respect all values given.
A Man and
You're perhaps the only
designer with his own family
castle in Italy.
Not sure - but for me, Castel
Thun was a childhood dream. My
brother and I played in the courtyards and in the secret corridors.
Each visit was a journey of discovery.
Castel Thun is situated on a
hill near Mount Non and the village Vigo di Ton, in South Tyrol
[Italy]. It was the property of the
Thun family for 700 years before
it was handed over to Italy's
Trento Province in 1992. It has
now been renovated and opened
to the public. It includes a magnificent palace containing art gathered over the centuries, a library, a
garden and fortifications.
NAC H O ALE GR E , B AR C EL O NA , SpAi N
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of VMSD - June 2016
VMSD - June 2016
From the Editor
VMSD Editorial Advisory Board
Store Fixtures Take a Bow
A New Vision
Web Exclusive: Très Jolie
VMSD - June 2016