Secondome interviews Matteo Cibic

Vasonaso 2017 

If design is (also) the art of conciliating the opposites, then Matteo Cibic it’s one of its most representative personalities. On one side, the hiperactivity of a man who, at 34, has its creations exhibited in the most influent collections, from the Centre Pompidou in Paris to the Shanghai Museum of Glass. On the other side, the perseverance, dedication and method that led him to look for inspiration in Giorgio Morandi’s work. This is how VasoNaso was born, form the idea of replicating an inspiration like Morandi did, elaborating on one aspect’s possible variations. The result was, indeed, VasoNaso first collection of 365 pieces, one for each 2016’s day, perfect synthesis of hiperactivity and dedication. A project that is not over.

Who is Matteo Cibic?
“A tall, blonde guy, who loves to draw and produce unexpected objects and spaces."

You realized one of the most interesting and researched self-produced projects of the last years: is VasoNaso a closed chapter or are you thinking of a sequel?
“VasoNaso is a project born with the need of understanding how some people manage to dedicate decades, if not their entire life, to the same artistic research.

As a hyperactive boy, I’m fascinated by methodic people and experimented for one year the obsession of still-life painters. I’ve discovered a zen practice that I enjoy and allows me to discover new relations between shapes and colors, I’ve made vases (often antiques’ replicas) composing them in photography sets. I’ve developed a slight addiction, that’s why I keep making unique VasoNaso for Galleries, to keep up with my sociological study on objects.”



Matteo Cibic in the glass-blowing laborathory


During an interview you said that Giorgio Morandi painted the same thing for his entire life and you wanted to try and do the same. Are you looking for the perfect VasoNaso?
“The perfect VasoNaso doesn’t exist. Their beauty is in putting them together and find their relationship and similarities, always different and sometimes funny."

The first adjectve that comes to mind looking at your works is ironic. What is your approach to new projects?
"I like to imagine objects with hybrid functions and not easily classifiable.”

Which is the material you are the most confortable with?
“Definitely ceramic and glass.”

What would you like to design you haven’t designed yet?
“A boutique hotel anywhere in the world.”

Uzito collection for Secondome



Maria Cristina Didero interviews Claudia Pignatale

Maria Cristina Didero: How did it begin? How did an architect graduated in Rome in 2006 turn into a gallerist?
Claudia Pignatale: I didn’t want to be an architect in Italy, not a conventional one anyway. I’m interested in design pieces; I collect, gather, set aside. Objects speak and interiors tell stories. I wanted to tell stories and, meanwhile, create mine.

MCD: As a little girl, what did you want to become?
CP: My dream was to be an architect! As a child I wanted to be an architect and used to follow my father, who built elevators, on construction sites; everybody said he was crazy to bring along a little girl, as it could have been dangerous… He replied “She wants to come.”

MCD: Why your gallery is named “SECONDOME” (In my opinion)? Sounds a lot like a statement…
CP: Italians always say “secondo me”. That’s why, instead of using my own name I thought of using Secondome – the two words linked way before hashtags came up - as a provocation.

                                                                                                                 Nothing personal | Giovanni Casellato 2014

MCD: How did the collaboration with Fabrica was born?
CP: By chance. I used to set up the windows of my first space with artists and one of them was Sam Baron. That’s how I got to know him. I told him I was interested in producing my own collection. A week later (I remember it was February 2008) he called me and said: “I’ve got a collection in need of a mom, do you want to adopt it?”. The collection included 14 objects in hand blown glass designed by Fabrica designers; a month and a half later we presented it in Milan, at the Salone.

MCD: What’s your greatest talent?
CP: Matching colors.      

MCD: What do you believe in?
CP: In determination and dedication. If there is a will there is a way. Passion moves mountains.      

MCD: Once, Toscanini wrote a piece 62 times and in the end commented “It could be better”. Do you follow instinct or reason?
CP: By nature, I would only follow instinct – and I usually do – but reason is needed to put the pieces together and make them work.

MCD: Design is…?
CP: Functional, beautiful, experimental.

Dejàvu | 2013

MCD: What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word designer?
CP: The great masters didn’t define themselves designers, it’s a modern word that includes many fields such as fashion, web, graphic; a very generic term. But, for each one of this worlds, I think of someone capable of shaping ideas, and that in itself is already amazing.

MCD: Classic or contemporary?
CP: Contemporary – even if everything comes from the classic. There are many timeless objects that I love.

MCD: Can you name a few objects you consider timeless?
CP: There is a long list: definitely Charles and Ray Eames’ Rocking Chair, Gio Ponti’s Superleggera, the Chaise Longue by Le Corbusier, the Arco lamp by Achille Castiglioni and the Egg by Nanna Dietzel. Not to mention Gufram’s Cactus or Quaderna table by Superstudio. And Eileen Grey’s Coffee Table… I could fill a whole page.

MCD: What do you have in your living room?
CP: Several different things. A silicon cube, by Alessandro Ciffo next to Mezzadro by Castiglioni. An origami paper table, by Michael Young and many other pieces. Objects really fascinate me, they are the essence of the project in a small scale. I think that, when resolved, they become pure poetry.

MCD: Is there any piece in your gallery you will never keep in your home? I know, it’s a bad question, sorry.
CP: It’s rare, but it sometimes happens to have something in the gallery I would never keep at home…
MCD: Fine, let’s keep it a secret than. But you still answered my question.

MCD: How much are you loved by your collectors?
CP: I hope a lot!

MCD: I guess a 10 years old gallery has many stories: tell me one, the most absurd thing that happened working with a designer.
CP: A few years ago, Alessandro Ciffo, self-producer and designer, showed me an extraordinary armchair, born from pure experimentation; entirely made of silicone, inflatable. An amazing piece. I presented it at PAD in Paris and I sold it immediately. We were a little worried that it would pop like a balloon, but the collector wanted it at all costs. After about a month she called me because the armchair had been deflating. We panicked! We left for Lisbon, entered into this mansion with every instrument to try and fix the piece. It was weird. I told Alessandro to begin making a new one immediately. We replaced the armchair for the Portuguese collector, and this time it was perfect. She was finally happy. We were too. From that armchair 12 new silicone pieces were born. Each of them was a success.

PAD Paris | 2011

MCD: It’s said you are one of the gallery with the best sense of humor: why people say that about you, do you agree? If so, why?
CP: Do they really say that about me?
MCD: Apparently yes, really.
CP: I think irony is essential in life. I don’t like taking myself too seriously.

MCD: Oscar Wilde said “you must be serious about something at least, if you want to have fun in life”. What are you serious about?
CP: I’m very serious about work – which luckily is also very fun. I’m serious about my son’s Jacopo education too. Being a mom is the hardest job in the world.

MCD:  It’s definitely your biggest project!
CP: It is. Jacopo is my n° 1 critic. In life you get a lot of things wrong trying to do well. You cannot be a perfectionist about this.

MCD: What’s your gallery ambition? In your bio I read “ I wish for Secondome to be a pole of attraction and attention for design in Central Italy; I’d like to bring Rome into the international design scene”. Which are the results obtained by your gallery and, more important, what’s the current situation of design in the Capital?
CP: The gallery is just a space, it could be everywhere. I like to think it’s more a workshop where ideas get shaped. Rome is a difficult city, not very inclined for the new. I’m trying to show an other perspective and I hope I’m succeeding.

MCD: What do you want to tell with your exhibiting program?
CP: I’ve always tried to tell stories and I chose the production way to do so. This way I can tell stories that belong to me as much as they belong to the designers and the artisans that work with traditional and innovative techniques. It’s interesting to think that every object will have a different workmanship because it’s handmade, and it’s even more so to think that Italian craftsmanship tradition is one of the most celebrated worldwide. Every year I look for a new experimentation.

DOC, Claudia Pignatale and Matteo Cibic | Piemonte Handmade 2017

MCD: Great masters or young talents?
CP: One cannot exist without the other. I try to promote the young ones because they can never find enough space and working with them it’s very exciting. I hope that one day one of them will be recognized as a master.

MCD: Do you have an opinion on the future of Italian design, and on how design will be in the next century?
CP: Italian design is full of history. I hope that the future is of the young. About the second part of the question, I wish I knew! Unfortunately I can not predict the future. I could tell you how I would like it to be.

MCD: How is it?
CP: Less contrived, distant from the past. More authentic and less “cut and paste”.

MCD: Plato said that “life without research is not worth living”. As a gallerist – category that should do research – how do you comment?
CP: I agree with Plato (smiles). Today galleries have to research an experiment. Experimentation needs time, a lot of passion and funding, but more often than not, it’s not received immediately. Sometimes projects take years to be appreciated and understood. It takes patience and tenacity. And believe in what you do.

MCD: The state of art of design as of today?
CP: In the field, save a few small exceptions, they try to follow the market, to risk the least and that blocks experimentation and research. I think in the ‘70s and the ‘80s they were much more inclined to take risks. Many masterpieces, iconic pieces of design, come from that research, that desire for new. Today we live an impasse, I don’t know if it’s only because of the economic crisis. I’m scared of self standing projects and remakes.

MCD: Is there a line never to cross in your job?
CP: I try not to have one.

MCD: Your icon?
CP: Maddalena De Padova.

MCD: The non-recognized one?
CP: My mother.

MCD: There is nothing worse than answering well to the wrong questions. How much do you think before an answer?
CP: A little. I’m an instinctive person. Maybe I’m wrong.
MCD: I don’t think so. Instinct is decisive in life.

MCD: What kind of gallerist are you for your designers? A mother? A friend? A bother…           
CP: Maybe an aunt. (Smiles) Sometimes I’m a friend and sometimes a mother too. But yes, I’m definitely a bother to them now and then. I like it a lot when they call me to ask “who designed this piece?” or “what does this piece looks like?”. But also when they ask me advices about pieces not designed for my gallery.

MCD: Is it true that being a gallerist nowadays it’s more like a mission? And if that’s true, what’s your mission?

It definitely is a mission! I’d like for my pieces to be recognizable. I’d like that looking at them you can think: “That’s a Secondome piece”.

MCD: What’s essential in contemporary design?
CP: Quality.

Hunn Wai, Maria Cristina Didero, Claudia Pignatale, Francesca Lanzavecchia and Mauro Bonizzoni

MCD: What’s essential to you?
CP: Quality.

MCD: What do you think of your future and of your job in the future?
CP: I’d like to keep on researching, discovering and improve the work already done. My job will be more and more to connect different know-how, designers and artisans. I try to make this job recognized and understood.

MCD: Tell me who’s the designer you admire the most, the one you are more in tune with.
CP: I’m in tune with all the designer I was lucky to work with.
MCD: That’s not a fair reply!
CP: To answer your question I’ll say who I would like to work with in the future: Ron Arad. I think he started a small revolution in the worlds of design and self-production.