Italian architect, Matteo Thun, has built quite a reputation for his sensitive approach to corporate spaces. Both Hugo Boss and Vodafone have benefited from his fluid, delicate renditions of office buildings in the past, and now German timber giant Binder have done the same with Thun's reworking of its Munich woodmill.

wood centre

see more images of Binder's HQ in Munich
The carefully laid out and generously proportioned pavilions, courtyards and gardens of the wood centre clearly answers the question of how architecture can be used to create a strong corporate identity. Almost every space is sheathed in a pattern of alternating glass and panels of spruch and larch - one of Binder’s best-selling timber products. In effect, Thun has turned the entire complex into a calling card.
‘The construction becomes a self-explaining showroom,’ the architect says.
It’s a clever approach that Thun has applied again with great effect to his design for a power station in the German city of Schilling. The massive cylindrical structure and the machinery within are cloaked with a light criss-crossed web made of the very same local timber used in the nearby sawmill (the waste from which the power station turns into combustible biomass that, in turn, is used to power the sawmill, a hospital and 1,450 homes in the neighbourhood).

powerstation

see more images of the power station in Schilling
'The idea of the power station’s transparent design,' says Thun, 'is to create an aesthetic form of ecology that combines lightness with stylistic clarity. The result is a feathery glass and steel building that’s wrapped around a visible technological heart that hides no secrets.'
We caught up with Matteo Thun to talk about these two Germany-based projects, what he's up to at the moment and where he's most like to be, right now.
When did you set up your office?
In 1984 in Milan.
What was the most difficult part of the Wood Center and Powerstation projects?
We had a low budget.
What are the features of the projects that you are most happy with?
Actually, I am happy when the client is happy.
How would you describe your style? Do you have a signature look that immediately identifies a work as Matteo Thun’s?
It’s architecture that results from the understanding of the ‘genius loci’, that respects the soul of the location.
What are your favourite buildings in the world?
Oslo’s new opera house. Jean Nouvel’s Musee du Quai Branly in Paris. And CCTV Tower by OMA/Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheerenin Beijing.
Which of your projects to date are you most proud of?
The Vigilius Mountain Resort.
Why?
It was a very satisfying collaboration, thanks to a courageous, visionary owner.
Which architect do you most envy?
Ettore Sottsass.
What kind of project brief would you never accept?
I have to think about that…
What's your dream project?
The most important aspect for me is location. And I’ve realised it with my house in Capri.
What project are you working on now?
I’ve got projects in the Alps - Zermatt, Engadin, St Moritz and South Tyrol. And I’m doing ‘beyond luxury’ projects in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.