About

WHO I AM

My business and I share the same proud name: Matteo Brioni. I was born and raised in a brickyard in Gonzaga, the birthplace of the dynasty that ruled the city of Mantua and made it one of the capitals of the Renaissance. My family has lived in these parts for over 400 years and has owned the brickyard for a century. History and tradition threatened to bury me, as did the mountains of clay and bricks where I played when I was a boy but I climbed up and over them and looked further afield.

After twenty years of getting bored out of my mind in the country stuck between the winter fog and the muggy summer heat I decided,  for want of anything better, to go and study architecture in Florence. There I was lucky enough to meet Lorenzo Carmassi with whom I began a deep and lasting friendship. Thanks to him I was able to spend time in the studio belonging to his father, the award-winning architect Massimo Carmassi (Gold Medal for Italian Architecture, Milan Triennale 2015) where I learned that Architecture, written with a capital A, is an activity that “absorbs the soul” and whose purpose is not just to make people feel good, but make them feel better through the aesthetic, tactile, visual perception and use of Architecture and the enjoyment that comes from it. Back at work in the family business, I found myself relentlessly crushed by having to deal daily with the demands of low-quality, fast-paced consumer construction, focused solely on profit.

By pure chance, in 2005 I came across the antidote to this dissatisfaction and these worries when I rediscovered raw earth.

So in 2010, thanks to a complicated generational shift and an epochal crisis in the building sector, I gave up everything and set up MATTEOBRIONI s.r.l, with equity of €2,500 and a €40,000 mortgage, not to mention two young children and the first home loan.

In this last decade I have travelled over 40,000 kms a year to visit construction sites, clients and trade shows. I have met hundreds of people to whom I have spoken, listened and learned. I have studied, revised, made mistakes and questioned everything; I have fallen flat on my face a thousand times and just as many times I  have got back up and carried on. I have been insane, reckless, desperate and afraid but also tenacious, resilient, constant and combative. My good fortune is to have met people who believe in me and my work and who have supported and accompanied me in numerous different and personal ways.

Among these I must first of all thank my father, my ‘example’, my mother, my ‘silent certainty’ and without any shadow of doubt I must remember and thank Gerardo, my ‘guru’, Maria Laura, my ‘art director’ for many years and Lorenzo, my friend and “sounding board”.

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Matteo Brioni, photo by Giuseppe Gradella
Matteo Brioni, photo by Giuseppe Gradella

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