Vincenzo De Cotiis Quest for Perfection

Vincenzo De Cotiis Quest for Perfection

The quest for perfection is a piece that perfectly lends itself to parody; you have a movie director who still isn’t satisfied despite having run 39 takes, a poet who refuses to release his masterpiece because of a missing element, an artist taking out his frustration over a broken brush on his canvas (again and again and again); the list is pretty extensive.

However, there are a few rare ones who manage to escape the fiasco involved in the quest for perfection. Things seem to come easy to these ones and they are able to save themselves the unnecessary despair and madness while harnessing their skills and talents to shape a bold and shining light. Vincenzo De Cotiis, a Milan-based architect and furniture designer is one of such people. As opposed to despairing and arguing with himself, he shrugs and calmly puts finishing touches to what he believes is a masterpiece

‘‘The simplest things give me an immense amount of pleasure,’’ says De Cotiis. “I know how to retain my happiness and move on to the next thing. I feel peace when I see something that has worked perfectly, the way I imagined it in my mind.”

De Cotiis, an artist who is on the cusp of his 60s, has gained worldwide popularity and fame for his uncanny ability to turn raw industrial spaces into hotels and retail stores. He often complements the rough integrity of these structures with the use of raw materials. His work is a perfect representation of the brilliance of the Italians at mixing decay and high Modernism.

Maybe due to the fact that he was raised in a country that doesn’t necessarily discard its wasted and ruined monuments, De Cotiis has a passion for exploring the similarities and extant relationships between crumbling antiquity and emerging minimalism. He and the architect Jean Nouvel were collaborators on the Excelsior galleria; a seven-floor structure refashioned from an old movie palace in the Galleria del Corso. His work involves a collision between time periods and that is what has made him stand out among the hoy paloy of artists and creators.

De Cotiis is a firm believer in the fact that minimal objects are subject to the existence of antiques. He has attested to being inspired by Gio Ponti and Carlo Scarpa, both of whom were known for mixing high and low materials; feats that seemed like foolishness at the time. However, regardless of that, this unique property of lies in the fact that every surface is finished with a perfectly flush setting. This means that the seams are so invisible that it can appear as if elements go through metamorphosis. De Cotiis says, “True beauty is embedded in certain parts that you can’t even see”. He uses a technique that makes his work look both antique and sleekly futuristic.

De Cotiis official website:



A version of this article appears in print on September 24, 2017, on Page M2188 of T Magazine with the headline: In Search of Lost Time.
Photography by Simon Watson.
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