Tobia Zambotti

Founder of Atelier Tobia Zambotti

Tobia Zambotti (1990 – Italy) is Founder & Design Director of Atelier Tobia Zambotti.
After his B.A in Architecture at IUAV (Venice) and M.A in Interior Design at Politecnico di Milano (Milan), Tobia moved to Shanghai to work for Alberto Caiola Studio, an award winning firm specialized in interiors.
At the beginning of 2019 Tobia decided to leave the chaotic and polluted Chinese city for an opposite lifestyle in Reykjavik where he founded Atelier Tobia Zambotti, a sustainable and future-oriented multidisciplinary design studio.
In the first two years Atelier Tobia Zambotti’s projects got an important media coverage from prestigious magazines all over the world such as Frame, Dezeen, Interior Design, Forbes, Elle Decor, Designboom and many more.
Recent works include Perlan Ice cream parlour – an immersive abstract ice cave located in the biggest museum in Iceland, The Fan Chair – a chair collection that gives a new life to discarded stadium seats, Couch-19 – an iceberg-inspired modular pouf stuffed with disposable masks collected from the streets and Coat-19 – the puffer jacket filled with single-use masks that wants to highlight the absurd pandemic-related pollution.

Where did the idea for Atelier Tobia Zambotti come from?

It’s always been in my head because I simply didn’t like the concept of ​​working to make someone else rich. This is why just after one year working in Shanghai I started my career as a solo: I decided to leave the chaotic and polluted Chinese city for an opposite lifestyle in Reykjavik where I immediately founded Atelier Tobia Zambotti – a sustainable and future-oriented multidisciplinary design studio, with the goal to be able to live with my ideas with no (or very few) compromises.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Since I moved for good to Reykjavik my lifestyle radically changed: I stopped believing that working hard is the key to success and I learnt how to work less achieving better results.
I usually wake up early and right after a very inconsistent breakfast I jump on my projects with enthusiasm. Before lunch I do some sport and after lunch I boost my productivity with coffee and music for a couple of hours, after that I try to spend some quality time with my 1 year old son Michelangelo and my girlfriend Benedetta.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I spend much time outdoor observing the world in order to provide solutions to problems or simply improving people’s life. This doesn’t happen if you’re always at the office. I am an instinctive and very enthusiastic person, this is why when I have the right feeling about the concept I immediately contact my collaborators to start the prototype production.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Sustainability. Being trendy trying to make the difference for the future our planet is something that particularly excites me. I’m glad to see that the creative community is enthusiastic about this climate challenge and I hope that this trend will last for a long time.
The results of this trend are already visible: designers now tend to design products which are sustainable and durable at the same time, reducing the dangerous over-consumption and creating more conscious consumers through their ideas.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Running in nature allows me to put my thoughts in order and to be more focused during my working hours.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Stop to demonstrate your talent through hard job and sacrifices. Do less, but better. You will seem more confident.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Having innovative, unique and original ideas is still possible.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Curating the PR not just when there’s nothing else to do.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Focusing on international media exposure gave me the possibility to create an international network across disciplines with endless opportunities.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

At the very beginning of my career as a solo I just focused on the projects I had at that moment and I completely forgot to expand my network, believing that I would get new projects thanks to the media coverage of the previous ones. It didn’t happen. I immediately had to fix it in order to get back on track.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Lab-grown meat burgers fast food chain. I’ll never have enough money to start this business so please feel free to steal the idea, just go ahead with it. Call me to design the restaurants or for a free meal at the opening.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Flight tickets to go to Milan for the Fuorisalone. My home country as a tourist (just as a tourist) is the best.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Spotify gives me the right boost when it’s needed. It is definitely the web service that gives me the greatest satisfactions.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Spoken into the Void” by Adolf Loos, a tremendously severe but still relevant book. I recommend it because the Austrian architect’s humor and pragmatism make this book very inspiring and fun at the same time.

What is your favorite quote?

“The best way to predict the future is to create it” by Peter Drucker.

Key Learnings:

  • Be radical and be bold.
  • Step fully into believing that anything is possible.
  • Do less, but better.
  • Be the person you want to be.
  • Having innovative and original ideas is still possible.