by Zohra KhanDec 10, 2021
"People strangely believe me when I say stupid things, and when I say true things, they all laugh. Everyone really believes when I build up stories. I don’t know why.”
– Matteo Cibic
He is known for an ever-curious face. His presence is infectious, and almost always cracks one up. His works, though created with the intent to be utilitarian, double as magical sculptures that light up every space, and consequently the mood of its users. A dreamer, a sculptor, a ceramicist, a magician conjuring surreal universes, and a designer in search of new utopias, on UNSCRIPTED's episode this week we hear some lesser-known facts about the delightful Matteo Cibic.
Did you know that Matteo Cibic wanted to become a pope before he decided to be a designer? What brought him closer to the creative pursuit, as he shares in the video interview, was a deep desire to reach god and the very phenomenon of creation. Cibic’s early introduction to design and art, however, wasn’t one that initially spurred his interest. Speaking with STIR, the transmedia artist recollects how a visit to see a Van Gogh exhibition in Arles with his parents had left him scared, and how he would find the idea of design, aesthetics, and colours to be very boring, as outlined in design catalogues that he had at home, aplenty.
Born in Parma and brought up in Treviso in Italy, it was during his school days that young Cibic spent hours at the workshop of his uncle Aldo Cibic (Founding Member, Memphis) from whom he learnt about the poetry of shapes, the tangency of curves, and versatile applications of colour. Always fascinated by the instant in which the tiniest design intervention turns an object into a persona, he found his trademark style in the language of playfulness, satire, and finesse – qualities that resonate with his own character.
While being funny has always been a quirk for him, Cibic relays that people often confuse it for the lack of sincerity and commitment. “Most of my clients who I work for, after six months when they see the project and they see what happens in the market, they say 'Matteo, we never expected that you were so serious. We thought you were a joker.’ This has happened more or less with all my clients,” opens up the 38-year-old designer on UNSCRIPTED.
We ask Cibic if there’s anything that paints a frown on his face. He answers in a sarcastic nod, “I get very serious when I am thinking of a new project. So seriousness comes with thinking and it’s probably why I am never serious because I think very little.”
With an impeccable art of translating the impalpable nuances of dreams into physical, tangible reality, Cibic’s works are recognisable, but at the same time they refuse any categorisation of being replicas of something. He continually modifies his dreamscapes and pushes boundaries of utility and aesthetics to create work which, in his words, comes off in “an endosmosis process of magic”. From textiles, furniture, lighting, to (interior) spaces, exhibitions, and accessories, Cibic has worked for an array of international brands including Moret, Mutaforma, Nespresso, Obag, PaolaC, Replay Jeans, Scarlet Splendour, Starbucks, Tim, Timberland, and Jaipur Rugs.
To know how he keeps himself stimulated, what replaces his staunch aversion for tea and coffee, and what he’s excited to tick off from his bucket list next year, tune into this 16-minute video of UNSCRIPTED.
Tap on the cover video to watch the full interview.
All photographs © Matteo Cibic Design Studio, unless stated otherwise. Images may not be downloaded, copied, reproduced or used in part or whole without obtaining permission. The photographs in this video are not licensed for personal, commercial or public use, or use in the public domain in any form.
Curated by Pramiti Madhavji (Consultant, Content Adviser, STIR), UNSCRIPTED is a STIR-original series of quick-witted video interviews with leading design professionals who give us an undiscovered peek into their lives. A melting pot of quests, revelations and quirks, the series releases a new episode every Sunday as designers reveal unheard and unknown nuggets from their lives, in response to 30 questions.