Interview with Italian architect Cino Zucchi, founder of Milanese office Cino Zucchi Architetti in 2008. For AA, he shares his view on the profession, his sources of inspiration as well as his vision of the future.
Since its creation in 2008, Cino Zucchi Architetti has completed a broad number of buildings in Italy, including the new Lavazza headquarters in Turin (2018) and the Almini store in Milan (2017). Invited to participate to the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale, Cino Zucchi imagined the Everyday Wonders pavilion, dedicated to Milanese architect Luigi Caccia Dominioni’s work. In France, Cino Zucchi has recently won – with Lambert Lénack (leading office), Sou Fujimoto Architects, Anouk Matecki Architectes, Carta Associés Architecture, ChartierDalix and Laisné Roussel – the bid on the project Joia Méridia, in the context of the Destination Méridia competition (in all, 800 residential units, shops, offices, hotel).
Being an architect means…
To search and find a spatial solution capable of fulfilling a great number of purposes, of surviving its initial conditions and adapt in time to unseen needs.
The new challenges of the profession
Resisting to the commercialization of terms like “sustainability” and “resilience” before their rightful meaning will end in the garbage, together with the abuse of these words ; finding new combinations between urban and natural environments ; inventing unseen collective spaces capable of competing with virtual reality.
Your ideal commission
The one that at first looks like an impossible challenge. Smooth seas never made good sailors.
Your job in 20 years
I picture myself wrinkled and bald at a work table discussing and sketching with many others, with the motto “Anchora Inparo” (“I Am Still Learning”) written in cobalt blue letters on the wall.
The advice you’d give to a young architect
Don’t mistake the real world with Photoshop. When you read and see something on Internet, swim back to its source like a salmon. Be patient, and remember Friedrich Nietzsche’s warning: “Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.”
What you want to transmit to your co-workers
A fast, swinging mental movement from the necessary “shameless” state of the ideating process to an equally necessary rigor in the moment of choice among alternatives and in their progressive refinement.
The young architect everyone should follow
Although there are several very talented young studios, Herzog & De Meuron still astonish me with their capacity to understand each program and context and to reinvent each time a space and a language with the right “character”.
The project you would have loved to build
Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller’s Aarhus City Hall in Denmark, the most welcoming public building I’ve ever visited.
Another career you’d have liked to pursue
Drummer in a Canadian indie pop band, preferably The New Pornographers.
An inspiring place
Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz’s Woodland Cemetery in Stockholm, the most serene backdrop to contemplate and share one’s sorrow; in front of its sight you almost wish to die and to be buried there.
A book, an object, a piece of art you particularly like
My whole collection of Indian belans (rolling pins) and their incredible variety of shapes and colors. The oil painting “Rien Faire et Laisser Rire” by my loved artist James Ensor, to whom my equally loved indie group They Might Be Giants dedicated a song, demonstrating how both melancholia and wit can generate resonances among spirits expanding across space and time.
For more information about Cino Zucchi Architetti, click here.