Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement: Umberto Riva

The Milan Triennale has announced the winners of the 6th edition of the Gold Medal for Italian Architecture, a prize awarded every three years and organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities. The Gold Medal for Italian Architecture provides an opportunity to actively reflect on the role of architects and their works and introduce the public in Italy and abroad to a new heritage of buildings and ideas. It also provides a periodical overview of the state of architectural production in Italy, illustrating its trends, issues and new players.

Umberto Riva

A master of lighting, Umberto Riva was born in Milan in 1928 and has worked in design since 1960. Having studied with Carlo Scarpa, Riva pursued his own personal research process via the most widely differing disciplines, from urban spaces to buildings, landscape to interiors, outfitting to the design of lamps and furniture. Considered an out-of-the-ordinary architect, Riva has retained an artisan dimension in architecture and design work. His designs are “born drawn”, pencil sketches of a pure and poetic research.

Tacchini congratulates Umberto Riva on the Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement award assigned to him on 12 October by the Milan Triennale. Riva, who is an accomplished master architect, designer and painter, received this accolade during the sixth edition of the Gold Medal for Italian Architecture.

Umberto Riva was born in Milan in 1928 and has worked on design projects since the sixties. Having studied with Carlo Scarpa, he pursued his own personal research, exploring the most diverse disciplines, from urban spaces to buildings, from landscaping to interiors, from installations to product design. Riva, an outstanding architect, has always dreamed of being a painter. His works, which portray abstract subjects and collages of lines, spaces and fields of colour, are a testimony of his aesthetic research. In 2017 Tacchini reissued a table lamp designed by Umberto Riva under the name E63; it features simple, clear-cut lines that seemingly give light a solid form. The two rugs Nello Spazio and Rituale instead are from 2018. Inspired by Riva’s paintings, they are the fruit of a long and complex working process, a perfect blend of art, craftsmanship and design.

↳ Gold Medal for Italian Architecture – VI edition
October 13th – November 11th 2018
Tue – Sun, h. 10.30 – 20.30
Triennale di Milano, V.le Alemagna 6 – 20121 Milan

Gold Medal for Italian Architecture
Umberto Riva

Umberto Riva for Tacchini Edizioni


The design for this lamp dates back to 1963, and today it is reissued with the name E63. This alphanumeric code is a reflection of the intellectual complexity of its designer, Umberto Riva: part architect, part designer, part artist, part light-tamer, and a whole lot of all these things. A table lamp designed with great precision, featuring simple lines around broad surfaces, that seemingly give a solid form to the light itself: steel, almost armour, protecting the precious source.

Rituale e Nello Spazio

A year after the re-edition of the E63 lamp, Tacchini Edizioni rediscovers the more private side of Umberto Riva. Known as an architect and designer, Riva never tried to hide his fondness for art and painting. In his works, geometric patterns and colors intertwine, creating delicately beautiful abstract subjects, as in Rituale and Nello Spazio. Drawing upon the painting of the same name, the rug is completely hand made, in keeping with an ancient, intricate wool-knotting process. The ultimate distillation of art, artisan craftsmanship and design.

Nello Spazio