Unravelling aesthetic mind of an architectural artist

Vincenzo De Cotiis was born in 1958 in Gonzaga, Italy. He studied architecture at the Milan Politecnico and founded his studio and gallery in 1997. 
Courtesy of Vincenzo de Cotiis / Ti Gong

Vincenzo De Cotiis

Who is he? 

Vincenzo De Cotiis was born in 1958 in Gonzaga, Italy. He studied architecture at the Milan Politecnico and founded his studio and gallery in 1997.

Vincenzo De Cotiis is considered one of the protagonists of the international contemporary design scene. His works, highly collectible unique pieces, are exhibited in his gallery in Milan and at international design fairs, such as Designs Miami/Basel, PAD London, Design Dubai, TEFAF and Art Paris.

Please share with us some of your works.

I love almost all of the projects I have worked on. I started working many years ago, in a very experimental way and since then I have never stopped running ahead of the times. In some cases my works were only understood after a few years. Definitely the Straf Hotel is among the projects in which I’m very close to and is still, after 15 years, a landmark in the international hotel industry.

Are you currently involved with any project? 

In the studio we deal with very different projects. At the moment we are planning several prestigious residences, in Milan and abroad. I will also participate in an important event with a site-specific installation during the Venice Biennale.

What’s your design style?

I would like to get away from what is commonly considered an idea of style.

Every project, every intervention is a poetic and functional gesture different from those that preceded it. Of course, looking back over the past, it is possible to identify a common thread that runs through the years, some recurring elements or recognizable materials that I love in particular.

If I had to try to describe my world, I would start by describing the incessant research and love of the material, especially towards the re-use of matter.

What does your home mean to you? 

Our house, where my wife Claudia Rose and I live, is a place of silent retreat and solar hospitality. I consider it among the purest expressions of my creativity and expresses a perfect union between past and present, through the search for a balance that is never stable but mobile over time.

Where are you most creative?

My creativity embraces all the arts in different ways but I’m focusing on architecture and collectible design in particular. In architectural projects, my creativity is limited in order to cater to the client’s needs.

I can best express my thoughts through my design objects that I display in my gallery in Milan and in the most important galleries around the world. It is in these objects that I manage to merge art with design, abstract and beauty with function and where I really feel I have no limits except those of matter.

What do you collect?

Materials and objects are looking for me. I collect everything, period furniture, more varied objects, inventories of old theatrical sets. The collections often remain hidden, like in the storage of great European museums and are brought to light when I change the internal scenario of our home, for example, or when I have to set up other spaces.

Where would you like to go most in Shanghai?

The Waterhouse hotel in Shanghai, which could somehow be a distant cousin of the Straf. A sensitivity toward the brutal surfaces associated with an oriental minimalism create an interesting combination.

 What will be the next big design trend?

The time of great artistic movements has long since ended and even in the development of design I can not perceive a precise direction. There is a great mass of commercial and industrial design that is outlining and also in some way imposing a taste and an aesthetic that do not convince me. 

Such as excessive attention to decorativism. For my part, I pursue a personal journey that this year has approached a research on naturalism. Becoming at times unpredictable which definitely places my work out of the trends!

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