Matteo Cecconi

Matteo Cecconi

Please tell us something about yourself: who you are, your past and what made you approach the world of architecture and design.

I was born in Torrita, near to Siena, a small provincial town where I currently live and work as an architect. After obtaining my diploma in 'classics' in 2004, I enrolled for a degree course in architecture at the University of Florence. My final thesis was entitled Ridwân - the Mosque and Islamic cultural centre of Florence.
I inherited my passion for architecture from my father, who was an engineer, and from my grandfather, who was a bricklayer with a hunger for culture.
I basically grew up in this field, which at the time I had not fully understood. It was only at university, in particular through a certain professor F. Arrigoni, that I really understood the meaning of architecture. My approach to the world of design was the direct consequence of the path I had chosen: it seemed so natural and necessary to deal with the design of objects and elements to be used in my projects.

Do you believe you have a specific style?

No, I don't have a specific style, or maybe I should say I don't have any style at all. What I try to develop in my work is a method, in both the research and planning stage. I find it restrictive to use and elaborate on only certain defined characteristics.

What are your references in the world of design?

I don't have any precise references, but tend to observe those products that have been developed with simplicity in mind, without necessarily striving for minimalism. I am tempted to observe objects that stand out due to their simplicity; namely designs from North Europe, Japan and oriental design in general. I am particularly attracted by the combination of "purity of shape and complexity of matter".

How do you judge modern architecture and design?

Today, we have a very broad and varied range of architectural styles and design. It is complicated and perhaps restrictive to look at these two fields as one and the same. There is no doubt that these two "labels" are attached too easily to too many products, whether they are buildings or common objects. The terms design and architecture are spoken about everywhere, without really understanding the reason why they are used. We often find objects that are made to seem spectacular and eye-catching yet, without any real basis, are mere commercial gimmicks. In real design and architecture on the other hand, this process is much more complex and arduous and requires deep logical thought, not superficial mannerisms. In the great variety found in the world of architecture and design, this is perhaps the most important thing to assess.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I simply remain open to all inputs. I observe my surroundings, from natural to man-made elements, even the most recent. I believe we should learn from every single episode in life, even from superfluous things and then painstakingly extract the most essential parts. While it is true that we can learn a lot from the past, it is just as true that we can learn a great deal from the present, without demonising it; in this case, the only difficult lies in the ability to distinguish between right and wrong in things that have not yet stood the test of time.

How did you learn about the Restile contest and why did you decide to take part?

I found out about the Restile contest through the architectural web platform The request for a product made with traditional techniques and materials on a contemporary note drove me to take part in the contest.

What inspired your project?

The project gets its inspiration from antique mosaics made with cocciopesto; an even, fine-grained body is used for the base of the slab on which stone tesserae are then inserted. This decorative pattern visually eliminates any effect of separation between the elements due to the gaps, producing an effect of continuity in the floor layout, which acquires that look of seamless amalgamation typical of cocciopesto.

What are your expectations for the near future?

To be quite honest, I don't know what to expect. I don't like being confined by pre-set models because I am too curious. I will probably assess every opportunity that comes my way.

More generally speaking, what are your dreams, aspirations and plans?

I have many plans for the future; first and foremost to be a good architect, to recover that artisan trait that should distinguish a designer and that has almost been lost. This leads to my idea to look in more depth at designing objects that can supplement or simply go hand-in-hand with my architectural plans. I also want to be involved in architectural plans on a holistic level and at all stages, in order to ensure more complete and more controlled architecture.




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