What makes him intriguing are the many hats he wears — architect, product designer, sustainability advocate, businessman.
It is hard to pin Ronny Matzat down to any one vocation and path. Five minutes into conversation and it’s clear that he’s operating on a different level. Not content to chase dollars and participate in a unilateral career-driven world, he operates in a world that functions in wholes, one that considers the environment, people and the bigger picture. That is inspiring.
Adding to his rather eccentric personality is his German background. Ronny was born in the former East Germany and his first career choice was in finance. After completing his apprenticeship in financial planning, he went on to complete a double Master degree in architecture and engineering at the Technical University Berlin. His story starts in Australia when he enrolled in a study abroad program, undertaking a year of study at QUT in 2006/07. He returned years later with new business and work opportunities.
At the core of all Ronny’s work is a passion for sustainable design that puts people at the centre of the picture. No matter which project or discipline he is currently lending his drive and vision, he is doing it with the heart to make this planet a better place. He is founder and director of various design businesses and board member and consultant for Green Building Institute Australia. His design projects have won awards in sustainable design and he has been published in journals from Australia to Africa.
This year he launched DSGNK, a company that offers architectural, design and innovation solutions, partnering with different architectural companies and shire councils. Ronny rolled his other businesses, including Building HOPE (his not-for-profit architectural firm), into DSGNK to better consolidate his work. He is an advisor and educator for Thomson Adsett Architects, where he is educating employees on sustainable building materials.
Ronny is a champion of the PV system — a type of cladding that not only reduces the need for heating and cooling systems by 40 per cent but also generates electricity. There are many systems like this available, however they’re yet to become immersed in mainstream Australian architecture, showing real lag behind the rest of the western world. His new role will see him integrating new, environmental systems into buildings through education.
Ronny was recently recognised with the Award for Innovation in the Byron Bay Shire Council Awards for Sustainability with his concept design for a Granny Flat. The beautiful design extended beyond the building into the landscape by incorporating permaculture principles into the garden. Not all Ronny’s projects are so large. Ronny has completed work all over West End, in particular using a woven glass product for which DSGNK provides the consultation, supply, installation and training. You can see examples at The Glass Factory and Chop hairdresser.
The future is bright for Ronny Matzat. Expect to see many more creative and environmental solutions coming from his company; no matter the scale, they will be making a big impact.
Words by Alice Thompson | Image of Ronny Matzat by Robert Shakespeare | Published on December 9, 2015 in Westend Magazine