Riva 1920 and Eataly first teamed up on the occasion of the launch of the gourmet restaurant Alice, which opened in Eataly’s Milano Smeraldo store in 2014. Since then, Eataly’s mantra of “buying, eating and learning” has found its perfect partner in Cantù-based company Riva 1920’s motto of “producing with honesty, defying time and respecting the environment”. Riva 1920 carefully select the wood used for manufacture as a way of showing their love for the natural world – a principle shared by Italian food and gastronomy – with a focus on American reforestation wood, old mooring posts from Venice, ancient Kauri and cedarwood.
In the Alice restaurant, the tables and storage units are made from solid oak-trunk mooring posts, which were recovered after ten – or even 20 – years of intensive use in the waterways of the Venetian lagoon. The posts were given a new lease of life as part of a collection of furniture every bit as sought-after and prized as the material itself. The ancient Kauri wood is equally precious and unique, having been used to create the Earth table produced in collaboration with Renzo Piano. The table is located in the entrance of the second Eataly in New York, which opened within the Westfield World Trade Center in August 2016. The table top features sections of Kauri set in resin, while the name itself evokes the origin of the wood – which was extracted from underground “mines”. Yet it is also a nod to the circular stylised globe design of the table, with the land sections created by Kauri wood and the sea formed from the resin. The globe is a clear reflection of Riva 1920’s international spirit, which has seen it travel the world in collaboration with Eataly.
In addition to New York, 2016 it also saw openings in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, Doha in Qatar and Copenhagen, the first store in Northern Europe. Based around the theme of happiness, Eataly occupies 2,000 sq m on the ground floor of Illum, in the heart of the danish city. It features three themed restaurants serving up rotisserie, pasta and pizza, a Lavazza bar, a Rudo bar and 3,000 Italian products showcased in a functional, simple display layout featuring bespoke furniture in cedar, oak and Kauri.
Staying in Europe, Eataly opened more new stores in Trieste, in January 2017, and Moscow. “Sometimes we’re asked to develop bespoke products,” explains Maurizio Riva. “For the Trieste site, we designed benches based on classic, slightly retro outdoor benches, while in Moscow we produced Baroque-inspired armchairs. We usually take catalogue products and customise them according to the requirements and function of the space.”
The Moscow store, which opened in the Kievsky shopping centre, is the second-largest Eataly in the world, spanning 7000 sq m and enough seating for 900 people. Themed around art and literature, it features two cafes, 11 takeaway corners, six themed restaurants, a gourmet restaurant, a school, a market and six production laboratories on full view for the public. The Riva 1920 supplied both collection pieces and bespoke creations in oak and old mooring posts for the gourmet restaurant, bar and self-service plaza, desserts area, Nutella lounge and Vino Libero area.
Our around-the-world trip is not complete without a look back at the 2015 projects including three stores spanning three different continents: São Paulo in South America, Seoul in Asia and Munich in Europe. The Munich store was Eataly’s first to launch in Europe following several openings in Italy. Situated in the Viktualienmarkt, in a 19th-century building that once housed the Schrannenhalle market, Eataly occupies a 4600 sq m space split over two storeys and two mezzanines, encompassing bars and restaurants, production laboratories, educational and events spaces and sales and tasting areas. Riva 1920 furnishes the lounge area with Pebbles tables, Wilma chairs, Betty benches and Dino stools, all designed by Terry Dwan and made in solid wood, while a Newton snack table also finishes. The round Parla! snack tables by Karsten Schmidt-Hoensdorf are used to furnish the vast bar area. An array of custom-made pieces are featured in the São Paulo and Seoul stores, including console tables, wine bars, stools and tables in cedar and wood recovered from old mooring posts.
According to Riva, in these kinds of busy spaces, “the complicated thing is not designing the spaces or the special pieces, because the client leaves us ample wiggle room – the real challenge is coming up with specific high-resistance finishes capable of standing up to massive use”.