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Matteo Thun

Showing a real respect for the environment, a deep understanding of materials and a preference for formal sobriety, Matteo Thun’s work mixes local traditions with new technologies in order to create sustainable solutions.

Graduated architect in 1975, after studying at the Salzburg University of Applied Arts with the Austrian artist Oskar Kokoschka and at the Florence University, Matteo Thun (Bolzano 1952) starts his professional activity with the Italian architect Adolfo Natalini. In 1978, he moves to Milan, works with the architect and designer Ettore Sottsass and becomes partner of Sottass Associati. It is the period of the Memphis group’s great adventure, when they made a revolution at the beginning of the eighties in the approach of design. Matteo was part of the group as well as Ettore Sottsass, Andrea Branzi, Aldo Cibic, Michele de Lucchi and Michael Graves. In1984, he leaves the group to create his own office in Milan, which becomes in 2001 « Matteo Thun & Partners », an office active in architecture and interior architecture projects, as well as in the conception of products on an international scale. He is associated with Luca Colombo for Italian architecture projects and interior designs (MLTC), with the Antonio Rodriguez office for product designing (MTD-R), and then in Shanghai (MTD-R China, open in 2015). In 25 years, Matteo Thun & Partners have consolidated their success and reputation, thanks to a talented team of about 70 architects, decorators, stylists, product and graphic designers.The continuous interdisciplinary challenge is the office’s winning formula.

His working activity is very large, going from master plans to hotels, from boutiques to furniture, from restaurants’ interiors to lighting. Projects based on a constructive dialogue and narrow links with the local context. This enables to create a long life architecture. By preserving the environment sustainability whilst keeping an eye on the costs, MTLC favours also local natural materials and looks for energy efficiency with low-tech solutions. The creative approach of Matteo Thun and Antonio Rodriguez in the product design allows simplified forms and the use of warm and natural materials. A special attention is given to the hotel sector. One of the first creations for the hotel industry, the Side Hotel in Hamburg (2001), is the result of an international and interdisciplinary cooperation between Matteo Thun, Jan Störmer and the director and scenograph Robert Wilson (New York).
The strictness of the stone façade hides an eight story atrium in the heart of the building, bathed with light. Another famous hotel followed : the Vigilius Mountain Resort in Merano, in the Adige valley, reinterpreting the local constructions in wood, stone, clay and glass in symbiosis with the mountain landscape. Awarded prizes (for instance, the Gold Panda of WWF and the Lega ambiente of the Lombard Region in 2006), this « de luxe » hotel, finished in 2003, with two floors above ground, gently follows the contours of the mountain.An accessible landscaped roof helps prevent overheating, adjustable shutters on all the glazed façades, biomass heating using wood waste from the local forest(pellets), clay walls for the rooms and suites to regulate the temperature, contribute to an energy saving climate management.
Also situated in the Merano valley, with view on the dolomites, the Pergola Residence Hotel features the traditional pergola style with an all-timber construction typical of the region. The terraced building perfectly adapts to the slope of the hills, integrating with the landscape while reducing its exposed surface and thus heat loss. With local building materials, a sustainable architecture contributing to climate management : thermal insulation, south facing glazed façades and green roofs.

More specific, the Bürgenstock Healthy Living project - normally it should be ready in 2019 – will have 161 suites and a 4800 sqm of space for wellness and medical services.The hotel immersed in the forest overlooks the Lucerne Lake and offers panoramic views on the mountains.The architect has chosen to integrate the complex in the nature by using local stone and a façade with a wooden lattice structure. Green roofs regulating temperature and southern exposure ensure a high level of energy efficiency. The construction works for the biggest and leading orthopaedic university hospital in Europe- Waldkliniken Eisenberg-are going on. Realized with HDR TMK, the health specialist, this 264 bed project insists on the narrow relation between physical space, hospitality and patient care at a rarely seen level.
In Switzerland, in the Ticino Canton, the Hugo Boss offices, with more than 300 persons active in the company’s production, logistics and distribution management, are hosted in a three overground level glazed volume, flooded with natural light and wrapped with a wooden latticework. This larch weaving symbolizes first of all the textile history of the « ready-to-wear » icon and also the relation between the landscape and the building.The choice of prefabricated materials (concrete and timber structures) is the basis of a project featuring systems and sustainable technologies for energy and climate management. The three-layer façade plays a key role in this regard.
In Parma, a village welcoming two-story houses gathering around a luxuriant garden with greenhouses, this is what the new Davines’( a haircare company) headquarters look like. In Schwendi (Germany), the Biomass Power Plant is veiled on the top half by a larch exterior circular screen. This structure softens the glass reflection and glare, provides shade and adds a natural contrast to the cube’s transparent surfaces. A long shed parallel to the slope houses a loading dock where organic materials are sorted and mixed and then transported underground where the combustion takes place. Heat for the building and a nearby hospital, as well as electricity for1450 single-family houses , are produced using an Organic Rankine Cycle Machine.

When building the social housings in Treviso, Matteo Thun & Partners’ ambition was to respect the maximum cost of €1000 per sqm, imposed by the law, but also to add comfort and beauty. External walkways on one side of the building and a traditional façade equipped with a wooden brise-soleil on the other side, guarantees a double exposure to all the apartments. The prefabricated timber reduces construction time and costs, while offering an optimized insulation for energy saving. The project Tortona 37 is part of the rehabilitation plan for the Tortona district in Milan. Thanks to a cutting edge energy efficient technology, this former industrial plant of 25000 sqm has become a mixed-purpose architectural complex composed of five buildings, with a double exposure on six levels, set out like a courtyard around a garden planted with trees. An overhanging white lattice on the façade frames the wide glass windows of the entire complex, which culminates up on the roof with a large terrace. Environmental matters are not forgotten : wooden shutters reducing up to 87% the impact of solar light, the geothermal exploitation of the underground Milan waters, with environmental proven advantages, representing a source of energy and a mixed system of panels and radiant ceilings, with a very low energy consumption.

Let’s come back to the hotel activity with a recent project, which, after receiving many awards in 2015, was a laureate of the 2016 MIPIM Award, in the « Best hotel and touristic complex » category. Situated on an artificial island of the Venice laguna, including a certain amount of buildings of the beginning of the twentieth century, the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa wants to preserve the laguna landscape by using local materials, which Matteo Thun reinterprets without any nostalgy while keeping the place’s authenticity. The zone of an old hospital built in 1936 becomes a « de luxe » hotel with 230 suites surrounded by a park and different brick buildings hosting suites, spas, swimming pools and treatment installations. The building and the complex management are part of the « Three Zero » policy, meaning zero kilometers, zero CO2 emissions and zero waste.
For each project, Matteo Thun attentively observes the environment , the « genius loci ». Consequently, his architecture is made of « local traditions and new technologies in order to create sustainable solutions, save resources, and generate measurable economic results, while contributing to beauty » As to the design, the furniture, the lighting pieces or bathroom fittings, he creates an emotional link and generates value to the objects by transforming them into timeless objects. « We create products telling ideas. They are a simple gesture architecture to serve a daily life going well beyond our present life.

1 Matteo Thun
Photo © Nacho Alegre

2 Vigilius Mountain Resort, Merano, Lana (IT) 2001 – 2003
Photo © Vigilius Mountain Resort SPA

3 Pergola Residence, Merano, Algund (IT) 2002 – 2004
Photo © Pergola Residence

4 Hugo Boss Business Unit, Coldrerio (CH) 2005 – 2006
Photo © Klaus Frahm

5 Biomass Power Plant, Schwendi (DE) 2006 – 2008
Photo courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners

6 Tortona 37, Milan (IT) 2003 – 2009
© Daniele Domenicali

7 Social Housing Treviso (IT) 2006 – 2010
Photo © Daniele Domenicali

8 JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa, Venice (IT) 2011 - 2015
Photo © JW Marriott Venice

9 Bürgenstock Healthy Living (D) 2012 - 2017
Photo courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners

10 Waldkliniken Eisenberg (D) To be completed end of 2017
Photo courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners

11 Davines Headquarters, Parma (IT) 2014 – 2017
Photo courtesy of Matteo Thun & Partners


1 Matteo Thun

2 Vigilius Mountain Resort

3 Pergola Residence

4 Hugo Boss Business Unit

5 Biomass Power Plant

6 Tortona 37

7 Social Housing

8 JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa

9 Bürgenstock Healthy Living

10 Waldkliniken Eisenberg

11 Davines Headquarters




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