Riccardo Monte

Riccardo Monte

Once we saw Riccardo’s work, we knew we had found a rare talent. Made from tree trunks, carved by hand, each piece is unique and characterful. He approaches furniture-making as a form of art, creating unique designs inspired by the principles of beauty, simplicity, longevity and craftsmanship. 
Riccardo Monte is a multidisciplinary architect and maker working across product, furniture and architectural design. His practice is defined by slow craftsmanship and a dedication to material authenticity, revealing an archaeology of texture, time and place within chosen materials.

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Following eight years working as an architect in London, Riccardo returned to his mountainside home in Ornavasso, Italy. This shift in geography and tempo gave structure to his solo practice, which centres on exploring and elevating natural materials through low intervention processes. He takes cues from the Alpine Walser culture of the region – an architectural legacy characterised by the pared-down structures of houses, barns and sheds. In his own practice, Riccardo looks to capture these qualities. When he first left city life, he spent six months living in a mountain cabin with no electrical power. The remoteness and solitude of his time there brought him closer to nature and the values of a simple life. Today, he is based in his studio-home, nestled close to the Swiss border in the Alps, working collaboratively with his English partner Katie – a photographer and filmmaker.
Today his handcrafted homeware and furniture retails internationally from Japan to the US and Italy. His architectural projects include cultural, residential and exhibition projects.

The Charring Technique
Riccardo began exploring timber charring – his signature technique – after firing the bottom of wooden posts that propped up swathes of grape vines he had planted in the grounds of his home. This technique is typically used to prevent insects from attacking the vine; although wood firing also characterises the ancient Japanese technique of charring timber – Shou-sugi-ban. Riccardo embraced the visual, conservation and tactile qualities of this technique, which was originally evolved to preserve timber. The furniture he creates is sculptural, organic and consciously raw, with depth of texture and a radiance of warmth. These pieces are functional art for the home. Riccardo is directly involved in the design and the hand-made process of each product. All materials are sourced locally and he employs traditional craft techniques combined with a modern sensibility.

All photography by Katie May
Riccardo Monte