Drawn to Drama: The Designs of Matteo Cibic

Crazy shapes, adventurous experiments, and wildly expressive decor define the designer's brilliance.

Davide Gallizio
OF 12

"At the moment, I’m designing the first electric heater in plastic, a carpet and a handbag collection, tableware, and chocolate bars,” says Italian product and furniture designer Matteo Cibic, 33. “I’m always working on between five and ten disparate projects.” If Cibic doesn’t give actual life to his objects, he does imbue each with lifelike personalities. Based in Milan and Vicenza, he produces deeply researched work based on material and production experiments, and plenty of whimsy: Tanzanian flora blossoms into lighting, a glass fish tank converts into a sex toy, and life-size, denim-fringed wild horses are tamed into rolltop desks. Cibic, whose uncle is famed Memphis Group designer Aldo Cibic, studied architecture, art, and product design and is a graduate of Milan’s Polytechnic University and Benetton’s renowned research center, Fabrica. In the spring, he designed multiple quirky pieces for luxury Indian design label Scarlet Splendour’s inaugural collection. For some, including a trompe l’oeil cabinet, he blended the look of Indian craft with historical Italian design imagery, using modern materials, pigments, shapes, and graphics. “You can’t decide where it is from,” he says about the mysterious-looking items. Or, at times, even what it is: The glass-dome-topped legs of his Domsai terraria look nimble, while his VasoNaso ceramics—for which he’s making a daily unique design for all of 2016—arouse empathy. “One is flirty, one is funny, one is singing, one is shy," Cibic says. “A small detail makes a big difference.”