Briciole by Riva 1920 (collection Le Briccole) - design Paola Navone

| Designbest editorial staff


auri, Briccole and Lebanese cedar are the materials carved into the DNA of Riva 1920, the Brianza company born in 1920 with the clear intention of respecting nature. Riva 1920 is not only a brand which has always specialized in the production of solid wood, but it is also a leader in the recovery and reuse of old wood.

Born in 1920 in Cantù as a small family-run artisanal workshop (founded by Nino Romano), Riva 1920 passed in a short time from classical décor to tailor-made furniture. It found its true mission under the direction of son-in-law, Mario Riva, in the promotion of natural wood with typical cabinetry production techniques from Brianza— the Italian cradle of high-quality furniture.

It was a small step from there to the world of sustainable design. As the company’s reins were passed on from to generation to generation (currently in the fourth) Riva 1 920 looked to new markets, focusing not only on American reforestation woods, but also reused ones like the thousand-year-old Kauri from New Zealand, the Briccole from the Venetian lagoon and Lebanese cedar.

“Making furniture that knows how to stand the test of time and respect the environment”, this is the vision that for 100 years has guided the Riva family, outlining production techniques coming from passion, tradition, creativity and innovation. What shows is a love for nature and the quality of Made In Italy products. As with Kauri, the biggest conifer in the world in volume (over 70 meters tall and up to a diameter of 9 meters), which is not cut down (as it is protected by the New Zealand government) but gets recycled from the muddy swamps where fallen thousand-year-old trunks are perfectly conserved; meanwhile the Briccole, the oak posts which are the patrimony and symbol of Venice, are recovered once their life at sea has terminated (lasting around 10 to 30 years before being corroded by the tide and substituted).

It is from the recovery of these woods that unique and precious pieces of furniture are born—ones capable of transforming signs of time into prestigious details. Just think about the golden effects of resin that “paint” the root wood in Kauri or the perfectly rounded holes sculpted by mollusks on the Briccole creating designs and impressive textures.

Without counting the Lebanese cedar, Riva 1920 recovers fallen trees from the north of Italy following natural events (e.g. mudslides or storms) or when they are removed for safety reasons. They work the raw trunks with the highest-quality technology and the result is a collection of over 100 exquisite and fragrant pieces (the cedar has an intense balsamic aroma) created by internationally famous designers and rigorously finished by hand.

Sustainability, design, research, social sensitivity and culture: wood is the cornerstone of these comprehensive projects that have brought over 100 designers into the world of Riva 1920: from Terry Dwan to Paola Navone, Angela Missoni, Luisa Castiglioni, Antonio Citterio, Matteo Thun, Michele De Lucchi, Mario Botta, Enzo Mari, Marc Sadler, Karim Rashid, Philippe Starck, Alessandro Mendini, Andrea Branzi and many others.

Great ambition and a philosophy that never compromises, giving voice to wood and creating something unique, special and timeless.


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