venice lagoon sunken oak pole tables by aldo cibic for riva 1920 venice lagoon sunken oak pole tables by aldo cibic for riva 1920
jan 22, 2013

venice lagoon sunken oak pole tables by aldo cibic for riva 1920

‘frammenti di wabi-sabi’ table by aldo cibic for riva 1920


italian architect and designer aldo cibic has created a series of tables that up-cycle wooden oak poles. the oak wood was sunken into the venice lagoon seabed to provide navigation information to boats. in water, these posts last an average of 5-10 years, after which they are replaced and during their submersion in the sea, they are exposed to microorganisms and marine flora and fauna causing them to disintegrate.


aldo cibic ‘frammenti di wabi-sabi’ table for riva 1920


‘in his small and fascinating book entitled ‘wabi-sabi for artists, designers, poets and philosophy’, leonard koren describes wabi-sabi as a typically japanese artistic ideal referring to the beauty of rustic, roughly finished objects, usually characterized by the use of natural, unrefined materials, worn or weathered surfaces, by the absence of geometrically regular forms and by dark or neutral colours.’ aldo cibic

aldo cibic ‘frammenti di wabi-sabi’ table for riva 1920


the finished pieces place emphasis on the history of change of the material: wear and tear, wood worms, all are still visible in the transformative nature of the designs. the wood is unsealed- it will continue to change, stain and patina as it used and ages in its new environment. due to the nature of the material all items are unique.


aldo cibic ‘frammenti di wabi-sabi’ table for riva 1920


‘when I first saw the briccole – their great girths worn away by time and water and riddled with holes like a strange sponge – I thought they represented a perfect expression of the wabi-sabi aesthetic. when they are cut and sawn they change again and when they become tables it is as though they regained the spirit of  what they once were and acquire, in addition, a little of the soul of whoever reworked them.’ aldo cibic



 aldo cibic ‘frammenti di wabi-sabi’ table for riva 1920










since 2010, in honor of their 90’s anniversary, riva 1920 introduced a new collection based on re-claimed oak poles, also called ‘briccole di venezia’. this initiative has brought together numerous designers’ and architects’, among them antonio citterio, piero lissoni, alessandro mendini, karim rashid, philippe starck, and matteo thun that have experimented with a series of furniture items — folding screens, bookcases, tables, benches and stools.the briccole, rather than ending their lives rotting in some depressing, filthy dump, can be reborn and conjure up memories of their past now in the context of an elegant home, a hotel or fashionable meeting place… it might perhaps be defined as a kind of romantic and poetic recycling.



venice lagoon with briccoleimage © designboom


riva 1920 is an italian manufacturer founded in, you guessed it, 1920.  what is so remarkable about the company is that they have remained a quality artisan woodwork company after 90 years. unchanged.  long known for their quality, solid woodwork, the rivas realized that their final product was only as good as their materials. these woods needed to be protected as a resource, are from a well-managed forest and have been approved by the forest stewardship council, an internationally recognized non-governmental organization dedicated to the control of woodland products. 

  • Oh hell.. all us poor, would be designers used odd lumber. I did not have access to ‘Venice mooring poles’ but a railroad tie mill in central Wisconsin was a source of cheap, oak for tables, bed frames, etc.


    JimCan says:

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