For some years now we have been working on the project of producing furniture defying time and respecting the environment.
Everything starts in 1920s, when my grandfather Nino and my dad Mario began our company adventure.
I started working and learning the first secrets of wood carving with my dad and brother Maurizio. At that time already our furniture had natural finishes.
We could have chosen a far simpler way of working, using other materials, such as those easier to work with. Instead, we decided to work with solid wood, the most unpredictable one.
Following our project of producing high-quality furniture, the year 1992 has marked a key turning point in Riva: in a few months our craftsman’s studio turned into a company with 30 collaborators. In the same year, we exhibited at Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan for the first time and our sister Anna enters the company and starts working in accountancy.
I start spending a lot of time in the company, living days of high spirits and others of disappointment and frustration. However, I could see that our company was appreciated and the projects, that once were only in my mind, were now becoming true were taking shape. That was really exciting for me.
We had several investments ahead.
My brother Maurizio and I have always felt like artists who are finding out and working new types of wood. We didn’t want to be the first in our way of thinking and working, but our aim was to produce furniture which could turn into works of art.
In 1992 we designed, sorry my brother Maurizio designed the first real collection of our company. In the meantime we started our collaboration with several designers and our brand name changed from Riva Arredamenti to R1920.
Thanks to our natural finishes, wood warmth and an accurate design, our products start being appreciated abroad as well.
In 1999 we fell in love with an old factory in Cantù and decided to buy the building, in order to create a place where our customers and everyone interested in our products can get to know Riva 1920’s world and philosophy. Here our customers could see and “touch” our design works and feel the quality of our solid wood products and all those characteristics which catalogues can not convey.
This building was also dedicated to art- and design exhibitions, like the one featuring Arnaldo Pomodoro’s projects, Renzo and Matteo Piano’s design studies and Pininfarina Extra’s.
We decided to create a Museum, a Collection of historic woodworking machines and tools, which will develop in time and now boasts about 2800 pieces.
Maurizio and I have spent our little spare time looking for these tools, which we eventually found in Italy as well as in Europe.
The years go by and we need to expand our production units: that is why in 2004 we left our building and moved to a bigger one.
Nowadays there are several designers collaborating with us; we do not want to list them and act as selfish people, but we are very excited to work with them every day. Still, sometimes we just can not believe that such important and famous designers could share with us Riva 1920’s development.
In 2004 the fourth generation enters the company: our children and nephews start working for us and thanks to their help we can be more positive and face the future with strength and confidence, together against the problems and difficulties which can arise in the years to come. Time goes by and quickly and the development of our products carries on.
In 2010 we managed to build our showroom at last, the one we had always longed for: a very fascinating 3000 metres-square structure completely covered with larch-wood, where you can see some of our products and our beloved Museum of Wood.
Nowadays we carry on working in the same way we were used to when we were young craftsmen. Our products are and always will be made in the same way as when I first started working in the workshop by our house.
Let me explain in a few lines more how enthusiastic and curious Maurizio and I were when we first decided to work with newly discovered thousand-year old kauri coming from New Zealand or with those types of wood, which had never been used for furniture, like cedar wood, Briccole from Venice or other special kinds of wood which we are going to deal with in the near future.
Our passion turns into the art of making and producing wood works which – maybe – will play a great role for most of our lives, challenging us and always respecting the earth and our environment, which allow us to work with such a special material like wood.
I should have probably talk differently about my company, but frankly…I am not a good writer…actually I wasn’t born to write, but to be a carpenter, to feel the grains under my fingers and to smell wood.
I would like to end with some word, which explains all that I didn’t manage to do.
we start again.
Back to the start,
ideas come to mind,
while everything goes on, twirls, goes away.
Aims change, take shape, new feelings and styles come to life, in the same way as in furniture design.
Design teaches us what furniture aesthetics is, but it is too greedy and unfortunately forces quality to be hung on price.
All I can do is treasure the written words, my thoughts and go on facing the world and always trying to do my best
going back to the start”