A native of the South Tyrol, Matteo Thun was twenty-one when he first attended the summer courses at the "School for Seeing" held at Salzburg by the artist Oskar Kokoschka. Until 1975 Matteo Thun studied architecture in Florence. In 1978 Matteo Thun went to Milan, where he met the designer Ettore Sottsass and was employed in his practice.
In 1981 Matteo Thun joined forces with Ettore Sottsass, Barbara Radice, Michele de Lucchi, Aldo Cibic, and Martine Bedin to found "Memphis". The aim of this group was to find new creative design forms while deliberately rejecting the tenets of functionalist Good Design. Expressive, colorful, and very playful designs shaped the look of the 1980s. Designers such as Michael Graves, Hans Hollein, and Shiro Kuramata designed furniture and utilitarian objects for "Memphis". On becoming less popular, "Memphis" promptly disbanded itself in 1988.
Matteo Thun's designs for "Memphis" were for the most part ceramics in bizarre forms with wavy, jagged rims, including the vases "Danubio" and "Volga" (both 1983). In 1982 Matteo Thun taught at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna. There he and his students realized "In the Spirit of the USA", a project for limited-edition ceramics commissioned by Villeroy & Boch. In 1984 Matteo Thun left both Sottsass Associati and "Memphis".
That same year, 1984, Matteo Thun founded his own practice in Milan. From 1990 until 1993 Matteo Thun was artistic director of Swatch. Other firms Matteo Thun has designed for include Arteluce, Arzberg, Bulgari, Kartell, Villeroy & Boch, Vorwerk, WMF, and Zucchetti.
Matteo Thun's practice designed numerous interiors, including the Side Hotel in Hamburg (2001), Therme Merano (2005), Altstadt Wien (2006), the Munich disco P1 (2003), and shop interiors for Missoni (1998-2002), Fila (2001) and Porsche Design (2005-06).