It all starts in 1920 in Vighizzolo, Cantù, in the heart of the Brianza area of Lombardy, in a small family-run artisan workshop founded by Nino Romano, specializing in the production of classically styled solid wood furniture. Shortly after the end of the war, Mario Riva joins the Vighizzolo workshop, which continues their father’s in law activity and employs a handful of workers.
They continue to produce models in classical style, always prioritizing the question of quality in line with the traditions of the typical cabinet making skills of the area, the traditional cradle of high quality Italian furniture production. The brothers Maurizio and Davide Riva follow in the footsteps of their father and grandfather, starting as woodworkers in the workshop below their home, focusing on made to measure furniture and expanding to 1,600 private customers. A long period of commitment and valorization of the use of natural wood and craft skills starts, aspect that later becomes the main feature of Riva1920 and in 1987 the new headquarter is opened in via Milano, Cantù, employing about 30 workers. In the same year, the sister Anna enters the family company, becoming the head of the administrative office. Following a visit to New York by Maurizio Riva, the next years see a fundamental change with the company adopting the North American custom of using reforestation timber and, with this, there begins the production of solid cherry wood furniture inspired by their models devised by the Amish and Shaker religious communities in America. Gradually a precise design identity begins to evolve, defining itself commitment to quality and naturalness with the use of completely natural glues, waxes and oils.
In 1992, Riva 1920 presents its collection for the first time at the Milan International Salone del Mobile and starts to make a name for itself both in Italy and abroad. At the same time production process was subject to an inevitable advance in industrialization and technological innovation. The Riva family entrepreneurial intuitions promoted the importance of collaborating with designers of international renown, something which went hand in glove with Riva 1920’s move towards sustainable design. In the meantime, with the entry into the firm of the fourth generation, Monica, Stefano, Elena, Marika and Andrea, new markets and new horizons have been introduced to the company philosophy of uniting functionality and aesthetics without ever forgetting the importance of leading a healthy and sustainable life. Alongside American reforestation timber, the company has introduced recycled wood like ancient New Zealand Kauri, the marker posts from the Venetian lagoon, and the Lebanese cedar, to remind the world that wood is a renewable but not infinite resource.
In 2005 the second production unit in Cantù (Via Genova) opens and 2010 sees the completion of the construction of the new Riva Center, that houses on the ground floor a Showroom of about 1200 sq. m. The first floor is taken up by the Wood Museum with its collection of over 4,000 pieces of woodworking machines and tools. This captivating building is completely covered in larch wood, symbolizing the essential unity of solid wood products.
Today the firm can boast a working relationship with over 100 designers who try to give tangible “form” to the wonderful material that wood is and, with that aim in mind, a third production unit for technologically advanced processes was opened in 2013. “To produce with honesty in order to hand down our furniture to future generations, constructing articles that defy time and fully respect our surroundings”, this has been the idea that has guided and motivated all Riva 1920’s day to day actions and decisions for almost the past 100 years, always faithful to its principles. It is an idea that has defined the company as a producer, built on a foundation of traditions, culture, creativity and innovation. Love of nature and the quest for an enhanced quality of life define the pulse of this company, where craft skills and values combine with cutting-edge technology and where design and attention to detail unite to create something truly special, unique and timeless.