franco maria ricci — publisher, designer, art collector, and bibliophile — has passed away aged 82. with an extraordinary passion and enthusiasm for many cultural endeavors, and beauty across the arts and sciences, ricci is celebrated for his limited-edition publications characterized by tinted handmade paper, black silk-bound hardcovers, and silver or gold stamped lettering — FMR (which reads as ‘éphémère’ in french). ‘from the etruscan canopes to the glasses of elton john, from the bas-reliefs of the ara pacis to the metaphysical mattresses of domenico gnoli, passing naturally through the most varied wonders of the renaissance and the baroque, of christian europe and the east and west indies, the FMR repertoire captures the ageless splendor of beautiful perishing things,’ a statement on his website reads. ricci also cultivated a love for labyrinths, among which he created the world’s largest, and the typeface, bodoni, which he championed on the covers of his magazine.


designboom met franco maria ricci at his milan headquartes in july 2001, and spoke about the panorama of art magazines at that time, the advent internet publishing, and his thoughts on the future. see excerpts from our interview below, and read the full conversation here.


excerpts from our interview in 2001:


designboom (DB): describe your style, like a good friend of yours would describe it.


franco maria ricci (FMR): trying to do a good job, working like crazy, not for the money, for the pride. in 200 years when they study the graphics of this era they will have to cite FMR, which is one-of-a-kind.


I don’t want to teach art history, I want people to become accustomed to seeing the beauty of art. I wanted my magazine to become a sort of school for taste, for showing that the world is full of beautiful things. 


DB: do you have any advice for young graphic artists and designers?


FMR: graphics is a cultural fact. today manual ability is worthless, because you can use a computer to give form to your ideas. I would encourage the young to get educated — read dante, joyce, calvino…and above all, to go to museums and look at beautiful things. if you aren’t cultured, you can’t be a designer. 

interview with franco maria ricci in 2001
FMR nr.1, march 1982