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Cultural Nuances Of The U.S. & Italy

Interview with Simone Micheli, Architectural Hero

Simone Micheli is a world-renowned designer and architect who has made a name for himself in the industry with his firm, “Simone Micheli Architectural Hero” founded with Roberta Colla in 2003.

Simon exercises his professional activities through architecture, interiors, design, visuals, graphics, communication, and event organization. He is a curator of exhibitions and a professor at various universities worldwide, working with private and public clients.

Simone Micheli design e architettura
Simone Micheli Architect – ph. Maurizio Marcato

The interview with Simone Micheli

We have had the privilege to meet the creator Simone Micheli, the spokesman of the change in the design world, to learn more about his motivations, inspirations, and visions.

How did the desire to become a designer come?

Since I was a child, I have lived with the experiences of my parents, who are artists with natural attention. Hence, this offered me the unconscious awareness of creating places, things, three-dimensional beauty, space, and adventures. Every study, meeting, experience, reflection, vision, and love carries within itself the seeds of an inestimable value ready to turn into great emotions. These feelings create, discover, increase knowledge, and expand the awareness of their expressive and communicative power to build one’s history. Therefore, these narrative fragments hide my mastery, expressiveness and content roots of my architecture.

Aquatio Cave Luxury Hotel & SPA, Matera Italy – ph. Jürgen Eheim (Interior design and lighting project: Simone Micheli Architect)

What does design mean for you?

In Italian, “to design” is “pro-gettare,” with “gettare” meaning to throw forward. The Latin “projectum” means developing something to reach the future by imagining comfortable ways to achieve it. To make the existence of every human being better, more comfortable, more beautiful, simpler, more respectful, and more responsible for the environment in which we live every day. Therefore, design is a tool for an individual to shape the world around them and to grasp, know, and understand reality. Moreover, design is a colored lens through which one can perceive what is outside us. It is a trace, a sign, a manifesto of the capacity for human “doing”, and a symbol of evolving eras.

Aquatio Cave Luxury Hotel & SPA, Matera Italy - ph.
Aquatio Cave Luxury Hotel & SPA, Matera Italy – ph. Jürgen Eheim (Interior design and lighting project: Simone Micheli Architect)

Designing is emotion, creation, surprise, and innovation. What aspects are you interested in when you design?

What inspires my design work is the idea of a courageous, unconventional, sustainable architecture that does not necessarily bend to traditional rules and habits but has the courage to dare and look beyond the barriers of the known reality. I conceive each work as an organic and integral unit in which the individual components, and their combinations, are indispensable and make a difference. Therefore, the base of my projects is the desire to do and to build places and objects skilled in satisfying human needs and requirements.

I wish to enrich the world with intelligent, functional, essential fragments of beauty. I want the works that I create, whether small objects or large buildings, to be able to take on the important responsibilities that every element in a life cycle must consider. Eco-sustainability and respect for the environment are indispensable factors for realizing a project that can be defined as “good design.” Therefore, during the design phase, I must broaden the view so that all elements that make up the context of the work are esteemed as central. The research and experimentation activities are nodal from this point of view and must never fade away from their decisive action for the success of a good project.

Each new project represents an extraordinary challenge that leads me unconsciously to push the boundaries of the known real, to move away from the stereotype to build essential, functional and hyper-sensory spaces belonging to an improbable, unique dimension perfect for a contemporary man.

The quality of the elements that make up an architectural work is fundamental because a system can renew itself, expand, and qualify life through these and their combination.

Atomic SPA by Simone Micheli
Atomic Spa, Milan Italy – ph. Jürgen Eheim (Interior design and lighting project: Simone Micheli Architect)

In terms of interior design, what does true luxury represent for you today?

The contemporary idea of luxury is deeply changed compared to its conception many years ago. Building luxurious projects does not mean any more to use sumptuous materials and super decorated furniture. True luxury is the ability to enjoy our world in the world as it consists of finding spaces free from standard conventions and rules in the possibilities offered to humans. Each opportunity can dedicate time to the human’s body and spirit, where they can rebuild the relationship with their interiority and feel welcomed, breaking with frenzy rhythms. Giving birth to luxurious works means concretizing humans’ desires into projects conceived as excellent works of art. This process needs a lot of energy and care that each very good designer passionately dedicates.

Simone Michele design Chioggia
Oversea Building, Chioggia Italy – ph. Jürgen Eheim (Architectural, Interior design and lighting project: Simone Micheli Architect)

What excites and stimulates your planning? Where do you draw inspiration and ideas from?

Each project is a new challenge determined by the situation before me. My sources of inspiration are nature, women, history, futuristic thinking, sustainability, and everyday life.

You are a designer, a curator of exhibitions, and a university lecturer. You give lectures and workshops and speak in Italy and worldwide, and you know how to decline your genius and passion in many areas. Which of these activities excites you the most?

It is difficult to answer that because I deeply love everything related to design; hence, I could only be an architect. Designing means loving yourself, trying to love others, and exploring infinite and wonderful planets. However, all the mentioned areas are dear to me since this is the same as any father confronted with the question “Which son do you love most?” would answer. trieste by Simone Micheli
YOU.ME Design Place Hotel Trieste Italy – ph. Jürgen Eheim (Architectural, Interior design and lighting project: Simone Micheli Architect)

What are the most essential features of your home?

My house is a good concretization of my wishes and dreams and my wife Roberta’s. It is a breath of fresh contemporaneity unhinged the pre-established orders of a century earlier, giving birth to a perfect conjugation of opposites necessary for the complete well-being of man: closeness to nature, attention to the original aspects of the soul, intimacy, and familiarity coexist with a gaze always open to the future, a high level of technology and new forms.

We conceived this house as a free, flexible, serene space, which we live in every day with simplicity. We thought of creating a candid volumetric sphere punctuated by bright green and orange tones representing the materialization of the meaning that Roberta and I give to live. We imagined building a hospitable place like an urban cave refuge where one can relax and find oneself through the relationship with desired empty variables.

It is a light-filled house that displays historical matrices through the enhancement of rough face surfaces and declares its desire to approach our temporal bubble through desired spatial, lighting, and chromatic activity. Our house could not possibly do without the breathtaking view it gives every day. trieste by Simone Micheli Design
YOU.ME Design Place Hotel,Trieste Italy – ph. Jürgen Eheim (Architectural, Interior design and lighting project: Simone Micheli Architect)

How much does the “trend of the moment” influence your projects?

I voluntarily shy away from trends of the moment, which are extremely volatile, often insubstantial, and connected to commercial dimensions. I follow my path with great humility, passion and transportation, creating works out of time and simultaneously within time, imagining that they become stable and eternal through the metaverse, a communication tool.

Villa Dubai by Simone Micheli Design
Villa Dubai, Dubai – Works in progress (Architectural, Interior design and lighting project: Simone Micheli Architect)

How do you combine the client’s needs with your creativity?

My projects come to life precisely from the harmonious fusion of my thinking with the wishes and dreams of a client’s chosen shape of a particular work and from the specifics of each territory. It is precisely from the search for this compositional perfection and a never-static mixture that works with unique and perfectly distinguishable features that originate but are never identical, always changing!

The most extraordinary projects always come when there is a wonderful and perfect sharing of intent and vision between the client and designer. For this, I consider myself an extremely lucky man. The principles I have crossed in my time course represent true oxygenators of the project for me.

Tower Shangai by Simone Micheli Design
Tower Shangai, multifuntional building – China – Works in progress (Architectural, Interior design and lighting project: Simone Micheli Architect)

How do you incorporate sustainability and respect for the environment into your work?

I believe it is essential today to pay the utmost attention to the environment around us. Much damage has been done in the past, and it is now necessary to remedy it by offering new life to what already exists and taking on the responsibility that the creation of each new object brings with it, even at the end of its life cycle.

Sustainability means respecting the environment in which we live; this entails analysis of the territory in which the work is to be built to concern its peculiarities, using high-quality materials and knowledge of the processes by which they are processed, and the employment of highly skilled labor. But I also mean sustainability from an economic point of view, avoiding waste of means and forces and paying close attention to the choice of materials and products.

Palazzo gatto Art Hotel & SPA
Palazzo Gatto Art Hotel & Spa, Trapani Italy – ph. Jürgen Eheim (Interior design and lighting project: Simone Micheli Architect)

What are the most common client demands for a project?

The clients’ requests are always different since they are based on their wishes, dreams, experiences and the context in which the work will take shape. They then materialize through the combination of my thinking, knowledge, and the state of mind I have at the moment. Subsequently, I give a form in which to manifest the work. I cannot standardize my clients’ requests into macro-strands of thought since these can stand out just like the fascinating works that result.

Palazzo Gatto
Palazzo Gatto Art Hotel & Spa, Trapani Italy – ph. Jürgen Eheim (Interior design and lighting project: Simone Micheli Architect)

How do you reconcile aesthetics and functionality?

A design can be called valid only when it results from the inescapable harmony between aesthetics, form, content, and ergonomics. Functionality certainly remains the center of design development. It is from the intent to ensure that it is always fully satisfactory and adequate to human needs that beautiful forms spring forth. It is in the instant of implementation, during the process of manifestation, that form and function together acquire consistency. The iconicity of my works is rooted in my visions’ peculiarity.

Simone Micheli – Private House Firenze – ph. Jürgen Eheim (Interior design and lighting project: Simone Micheli Architect)

Your work leads you to travel frequently in Italy and worldwide. How much do your travels feed and stimulate your creativity?

A lot, but not in the forms of others, influence my design visions as much as the content. The revelation of those unknown territories that lie behind pure visual perception. Beyond appearance, there is a world of substance from which my spirit cannot help but be fascinated.

The architectural works I give life reflect the experiences that fill my soul and mind, a concretization of a thought that is never static.

I love to travel around the world precisely because every newly visited place, every space that becomes known, and every new principle that is discovered all settle in my soul and continually give it a new shape. These fragments are inevitably reflected in the works I design.

Private House in Firenze by Simone Micheli Design
Simone Micheli – Private House Firenze – ph. Jürgen Eheim (Interior design and lighting project: Simone Micheli Architect)

Can you tell us about a dream that has not yet been realized, a vision, perhaps a far-fetched one, that you would like to realize?

I have many dreams in my drawer and ideas I wish to bring to life! Enriching the world with beautiful works, lexically and content-wise, so that everyone can live in harmony with the context is the guiding principle of my design philosophy. I try my hand constantly with new projects, experimenting and testing my skills, relating to ever-changing objects, spaces whose characteristics have not yet been established, and plans of action not yet rationalized.

My design activity ranges from the definition of the smallest and most unusual details to the architectural description of a building to large master plans. As soon as I glimpse the possibility of devoting myself to some incredible detail, I energetically put my thinking to work, and a new adventure begins. I do not like to stop, and I do not like too much stasis, although sometimes it is necessary to let new concepts decant and absorb from one’s soul. Like any good dreamer, I have my ideal of perfection, which I continually strive for.

I want to design extended and integrated systems like the sky and the sea. Open spaces, constantly moving, elusive yet indelibly clear in the minds of men and indispensable to life.


by Severino Ricci


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