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About Luca Matta

Luca Matta Designer (LMD) blend innovative intelligence with new technology and materials to produce sophisticated design that exceed expectations. With 20 years of diverse experience in designing, Luca Matta has a multiple international award winning works. His curiosity nature and design passion has created LMD in 2009 in Treviso, Italy and now, in 2018, opens a new studio in Shanghai, China. LMD provides design projects from interior, exhibition, furniture, industrial, visual merchandising to architecture concept. Our design approach is to adapt to environment, to society, to different culture and yet functional to our client's needs. Our mission is to bring our different approach to the design world by avoiding fixed design dogma and “Fashion Icon Design”.

Interview with Luca Matta

Luca Matta ("LM") interviewed on Tuesday, 29 May.

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?

LM : After graduating in Set Design from the “Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia” in 1998 I started off as a interior and industrial designer and working with my father in his architecture and design firm for more than 10 years. During this period I handled many international corporations such as L'Oreal, Shu Uemura, Aveda, Bayer, AccaKappa and many other international brands. Then after, I started my own company Luca Matta Designer in 2011 and then after, started collaborating with Chinese companies and government for well- known brands on exhibition projects.

How did you become a designer?

LM : When I was a child, my parents brought me travelling all over Europe. We visited many places that is historical as well as modern places. With my young mind then, I was memorizing and " register " all the sensation in my mind. That was my imprinting and the door for my design and my experience. I still remember the inaugurated Center Pompidou in Paris and also the "Theater of the world" in Venice designed by Aldo Rossi in 1979, a floating building anchored at the tip of the customs. In one of the many memorable moments, these were the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.I've never lost my curiosity since I was a kid until now.When I was 4 or 5 years old I dedicated my time to designing details and mechanical parts of machines, especially the dashboards of the cars, full of lights, hands and mechanical details. That was perhaps "the beginning of my career".My curiosity for objects and the recreation of objects through design was fundamental to me. I drew, copied, broke toys into pieces to check the internal materials and construction and interpret objects into drawings.With this curiousity and with the help and influence of my father's work, led me to make the choice to become a designer and interior designer.

What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?

LM : I’m still very old school in some ways because I still enjoy sketching with my pencil especially during meetings with important clients. They are easy and fast to change right on the spot. There are times I use Ipad but it is not the same feeling as using pencil because I love the feel of paper, pencil and smell of markers. Aside from the love of sketching, I do very well in 3D and I love to combine 3D graphics together with sketching and this way, it shows my style of presentations. I collaborate with my team to complete the mock up models using paper, cardboard or metal sheet depending on the type of project and complication of shapes. My approach with the client is very practical, and the first priority is to listen and respect what they really want, obviously within the required limits, but without completely coming out of my style.

Which emotions do you feel when designing?

LM : During the process of designing, music inspires me a lot to create the flow of mood and to set the foundation to creativity. The hardest part and also the best part is the beginning. Coming up with a concept to suit the requirement of a client as well as the brand, requires a long process of brainstorming and sketching. After the initial part, the ideas just flows in to blend with the flow of the layout and space. Realization of a project is of course the happiest for all designers to see their conceptual design comes to fruition and to be recognized and known to the public. This is an ultimate sense of fulfillment for all designers at the end.

What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?

LM : I love cooking , taking photographs and flying air glider. These hobbies of mine helps shape my design skills in terms of improving the existing products for better efficiency usage or appreciating the beauty of tiny details and life form itself. While enjoying cooking itself, the processes of cooking makes me think of gadget or product that could make our life easier or when I’m taking photographs and flying the air glider, it makes me awe at the wonders and creation of all life forms and cycle of life and how over populated and over development can destroy this planet and how I could help in terms of designing to save the environment. That initiates me to research about new technology or new creation that could integrate into my design to contribute for greener environment. The most beautiful inspiration I have comes from art. I like Brancusi, Henry Moore, Bruno Munari, or the works of Christo as well as the incredible works of James Turrel and how it stir your emotions in Perceptive Environments of pure light.But I must confess that I really like the work of Thomas Heatherwick, a 360 degree designer that creates everything from industrial, to interior and to architecture is a rare talent to find. I, myself is also a multi-talented designer that could create industrial design, exhibition design , interior design as well as design in architecture and theatrical scenography and so I find Thomas Heatherwick really gifted and capable.

What is your growth path? What are your future plans? What is your dream design project?

LM : I have 15 years of experience as a designer in Europe and 5 years in China. Being in China with totally different culture brings rich experiences to my designing path which I am very thankful for. With this opportunity, my experience has expanded from private company projects to government projects and currently branch out to green projects.At this current moment, I'm interested in designing green and I am working on some important projects that is mainly focus on "Green Technology". I won a government project like Beijing 2019 horticultural expo for one example and there is a new collaboration with the Donghua University of Architecture in Shanghai for a ‘green’ publication. The future for me is to try to be greener than gray, and never stop researching and updating on new technologies .

What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?

LM : The best advice I can give to the young designers is to travel more, read as much as possible and leave an open mind. Listen to people who have a great experience and take advantage of the moment in order to gain knowledge.In this last generation, unfortunately we tend to have lesser time to think and getting too attach with new technology. This robs the creation of ideas instead of enriching their mind with fresh ideas and inspiration from surrounding objects and happening.The advice I received from my professor and still practice till now was to simplify the design and remove unfunctional detailing from a concept. This will target the attention to a focus point instead of creating focus points everywhere. He also advised me to think out of the box and not to apply conventional method

You are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists and architects?

LM : Success does not always correspond with the skills. There are many famous artists, designers and commercial actors whom do not live up to their names.Relationships and connections with people, and the ability to sell ourselves and our design well are the starting point to success and to be known to others. It is good to be a well rounded designer and learn the production detailing, keep up with new materials instead of just being just a concept designer. This makes a designer stand out from the rest for a start. It is advisable to know the whole process of being a designer from liaising with clients, to producing concept, to detailing of materials and production, knowing the cost and controlling budget of client , right down to delivering the project.

What is your day to day look like?

LM : I start off with good Jazz music and a cappuccino in the morning admiring the skyscrapers from my terrace and thinking if one day I will be able to create structures to absorb the smog and make the air cleaner in the city. Then after, the mind starts to organize the work day and start to browse through design magazines to keep me updated on the daily happening around the world which doesn't involved design and architecture.What keeps me excited is receiving new projects and imagination starts running wild for the outcome of the design when the briefing is ongoing.

How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?

LM : I am not the type to follow the "design trend of the season" and I've never followed the trend. Some wanna-be “designer” clients has plenty of ideas from flipping through magazines for new trends and come back to me with suggestions to copy on daily basis. Good design doesn't come from "seasonal trend", I admire and still prefer the master pieces that last through decades in the world of architecture and design. I take inspiration from history, art or strong iconographic references and create a new concept for client’s requirement and take consideration of the environment, culture and functional usage of product or layout.

How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?

LM : In recent years we are accustom to seeing eye-pleasing products which comes in appealing packaging to attract customers to buy. Some product are functional but yet most of them are just impractical and contribute more to wasteland. A good product must be completely functional, aesthetically pleasing, good ergonomics and excellent materials that last for some long time. A good product should adapt well to the market, but it also depends on where and how it is produced and sold. There are also disposable, recyclable "low cost" products, for example, which are more intelligent than many other products in circulation. Think of the old Tetrapak and the success it has had on the world market.

How do you decide if your design is ready?

LM : “ Ready ? Ready !That's okay, do not touch it anymore, no, but wait, maybe adjust this detail a little bit,Well, now it's okay, and the shape is cleaner ... "In my products I always try to start from the subtraction of elements that are added, a bit like modeling with clay or sculpting.This is how my forms are born. Obviously something I have to add, and usually this is done at the end, when we study the details.When the final "add-on" process is finished, after sketches of study and technical rendering executives and prototypes, the product is well established.The design is not only rendering and CAD, it is also technical drafting with the artisans, the styling for perfect realization, which makes your product a unique product of success.The product is "ready" when the last adjustments are made with the craftsmen, the workers and the customer.

What is your biggest design work?

LM : For sure the best project I made is the project for the “ Beijing horticultural expo 2019 last year. Horticultural Expo 2019 in Beijing is the winner of the tender for the Horticultural Fair. It is a project of interior design and landscape of 13,000 m2, where the latest advanced Green technology is used, such as hydroponics, bioclimatic and air purification, with an active local plantation system in the area of Beijing. A perfect microclimate explaining to visitors how the Chinese future could be, given that the Government, after the Paris agreement, pledged to invest $ 298 billion to fund new Green technologies in China. Fair has been planned, the first introductory room . The most common symbolic materials of the Chinese garden, such as water, stones, bridges, and passages were analyzed.

Who is your favourite designer?

LM : A great and humble Italian designer like Ettore Sottsass has taught us to look at design from another point of view. But there are also the products by Alvar Aalto, who have changed the history of design, I also like the recent installations by the artist Giacomo Tresoldi and the design by Patricia Urquiola or "Spun Chair" by Thomas Heatherwick. There are many ... Definitely the most ironic Designer for me is Bruno Munari, who taught us to experiment and smile making us appreciate design. He was one of the few to teach "art as a profession" to children.

Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?

LM : That’s a complicated question.....My lifestyle is complicated, and it is constantly changing.I adapt to what I have around me. I moved from Venice, (the city of Marco Polo) to Shanghai, a city of 25 million inhabitants. I was lucky enough to have visited many big cities in the world, but Shanghai is certainly an incredibly less stressful city than Milan or Paris and I'm sure of that. A good thing about Shanghai is that it is one of the safest cities in the world, where a young person can go out at any time and nothing happens. There is very little violence here.But unfortunately I have to say that there is no green and the big concerts are missing. Music is an incredible source of inspiration for me, and I have no genres that prevail with each other. It depends on the type of project I do that I am committed to. If I want to listen to John Zorn I listen willingly, as well as Brian Eno, but it depends on the type of day.LMD design, is reborn differently from when it was born in Italy in 2011. As a consequence, the cultural difference of China compared to the western one changes the parameters that you had previously set out to follow in your country. And that's why in order to go on it takes a great spirit of adaptation, without losing the values of our origins and the culture we have.

Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?

LM : The LMD study, as I said before, is evolving. This means that it is a study still open to collaborations, where new ideas circulate and experiment. The door is always open, and this is the strength of LMD. Collaborations are growing with Donghua Architecture University in Shanghai and the Chinese government for new projects related to green technology. I have several partners and friends who gave me the opportunity to enter the Eastern market to understand and attack it.It is not easy to understand how a country like China is, with a different cultural and productive depth compared to our continent.

What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?

LM : An interesting project for Chinese cities is in preparation for 2019, and this will involve the university and the Chinese government. It will concern all citizens, from poor to affluent classes. We'll see if the government likes it. It's a nice challenge ....

What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?

LM : I will always remember that when I won the 3 Adesign Awards, after a few months one of the most famous interior studios in Shanghai sent me an email asking if it would be possible to start a collaboration with their studio.And it is from that moment that I moved from Italy to China.Thanks Adesign Awards!

Luca Matta Profile

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