Another artisanal success story, that of the Riva family of Cantù. From the small joinery workshop started by grandfather Riva in 1920, they’ve expanded into a thriving furniture company ahead of the game in design and materials, without ever compromising their Lombardy roots or ancestral passion for good, solid wood. Riva 1920 now has two state-of-the-craft factories up there in the area known as Brianza, enlists the collaboration of top-notch international designers (Kazuyo Komoda, Antonio Citterio, Mario Botta, Renzo and Matteo Piano, David Chipperfield and dozens more…) and enjoys global prestige.
It has pioneered the use of Swamp Kauri wood – a golden-grained timber from trees felled by cataclysmic events up to 50,000 years ago in New Zealand and preserved in swamp mud ever since… honestly! – and found wonderful ways to recycle the old oak posts from the Venetian lagoon. Third generation brothers Davide and Maurizio (designers themselves) and sister Anna, who currently run the show though some of their offspring are already involved in the business, also find time to get Riva involved in a slew of cultural and art events and good causes, and a few years ago opened their own museum.
A stunning building entirely enveloped in larch wood with elements in Cor-Ten and a roof garden, created from the frame of an old factory in the town by local studio TP4associati, now contains the Riva Centre. The Museum of Wood, with its unique collection of more than 2000 tools and machines of the carpenter’s trade over the centuries, is on the upper floor. Below are the Riva showroom and spaces where some of their milestone design pieces are exhibited, also a venue for wood-design meetings and workshops. The Centre is generally open every day but Sunday, and admission is free. Along with all other enterprises of similar calibre in the furnishing field, Riva 1920 will naturally be at the Saloni 2014, stand A23-B20 in Pavilion 6, from April 8th to 13th.