Expert Insights: Matteo Cibic
Designer and founder Matteo Cibic Studio
Matteo Cibic is a creative company based in Milan and Vicenza, Italy. In the past 10 years Matteo Cibic and his team developed products and creative ideas for international companies, private collectors and cultural institutions.
When and how you realized that design was the right professional path for you?
I understood it at the age of 14, when I went to spend the summer in Milan, at my uncle’s studio, which was also next to a model agency. As a child I wanted to be the Pope, I was a fervent altar boy with a career as a priest in front of me and the ambition of becoming Pope. Later on my parents decided to send me to my uncle’s and there I understood that life as a designer would be a great alternative to being the Pope.
Your work is characterized by great eclecticism: what are your main sources of inspiration?
The world of Arts & Crafts has always been a strong source of inspiration, but also history, legends, mythological objects and spaces, objets trouvés. From all this I can draw a narrative, a storytelling, a grammar of style and sign which I convert into what I design.
What are the 3 most important things you learned while working at your uncle’s studio?
- Pretending to not know how to use Autocad
- Establishing a relationship of empathy with craftsmen or companies, but especially with the artisans who “physically” produce your pieces
- Always investing in a research project
Do you feel more a designer or an artist? What is the difference between these two professions in your opinion?
I see no difference between them. Nowadays, artists must be able to respond to market needs as well.
What does “extraordinary” mean to you?
Extraordinary is something close to magnificence, to wonder.
The extraordinary, after having being seen two or three times, must remain extraordinary, otherwise it is just a small novelty.
What is your relationship with fashion? How did you come up, for example, with the idea of founding the 10A brand?
I got closer to fashion thanks to Daria Dazzan. With her I have been able to give shape to the idea of a clothing brand – 10A – that would produce a single garment, trousers with suspenders, extremely functional and iconic with respect to a fashion world that changes so quickly.
The brand has been able to respond to the objectives of applying to fashion the projectuality associated with the world of product design and to revive a series of historic Venetian manufactures, creating for them a new development model: the production of an iconic niche garment that would not have been copied by big brands.
I believe fashion is a form of art, at least in Belgium, where fashion is born from art&crafts, unlike Italy, where it is part of the Industrial Design.
What is your relationship with social media? How useful do you think they are for a designer?
Unfortunately nowadays many companies look first to designers’ followers on Instagram than to their portfolio, this is quite depressing. I use social media only as a professional “newsletter”, publishing my works to keep collectors, or anyone interested, updated.
I try to spend as little time as possible on social networks, I don’t interact with other users and I don’t look for inspiration on the web: since the web is the main source of formal and design inputs for the great majority of designers in the world, in the end results are very similar everywhere. It is no coincidence in fact that Italian, Australian or South American designers’ works have very similar characteristics, despite living in completely different environments.
What do you think young design students should to do today to stand out in the market?
They must have a deep culture, they must develop interests in all fields connected to the world of art, they must find food for thought in areas that can intercept their profession – from the study of contemporary art to textile weaving techniques, to the functioning of certain machines. Above all, they must build a very broad culture including music, literature, visual, trans-media and never be superficial.
What role do design competitions have or can have in a designer’s career?
I know of few designers who have experienced a significant change in their career thanks to a competition. Design competitions are certainly excellent incentives to design, a good way to self-commission projects and gain valuable experience. They are mainly useful for enriching your portfolio.
In the design industry there are 2-3 awards assigned for a brilliant career or a particular project and I believe those are the ones that can make the difference.