Let’s take a step back in time, but not a huge one. Only a year and a half ago, around March and April 2020, we started compulsively buying disinfectants and detergents for our homes and our obsession with hygiene skyrocketed. Meanwhile news poured in from hospitals on a daily basis, reconfiguring our sense of safety and our self-care even within our own domestic sphere. Suddenly, the memory of the Spanish flu came into our collective minds, having driven our society into a similar situation during the 1920s. We hadn’t thought of our homes as trenches for ages: places to be protected from aggressive bacteria and viruses – however, historic precedents tell us otherwise. From washable upholstery during Victorian times to the removable upholstereds of the early decades of the 20th century, we often forget that the aesthetic origin of the creations we love most have functional roots and were designed with hygiene and health in mind. Alvaar Alto’s Paimio chair for example, an icon of Scandinavian modernism, is that particular shape to enable people suffering from tuberculosis to breathe more easily. The chair was introduced into the sanatorium of the same name, then recently also designed by the Finnish architect, in 1932. Nowadays leading architects largely focus on designing hotels, spas, restaurants, grand houses for illustrious clients, rather than on hospitals. In Italy in particular, the word “building” tends to be associated with public hospitals as well as schools, seldom does one hear mention of “hospital architecture.” We discussed this with Matteo Thun who, with Antonio Rodriguez and through the studio Matteo Thun & Partners, designs hotels and hospitals, applying sustainable and humanistic standards indiscriminately to both.