Riccardo Barthel combines craftsmanship and innovation to create very enchanting environments. Designing kitchens is among the flagship activity of the Florentine company, known for its style both in Italy and abroad
di Elena Corti
Forty years of experience in the designing and furnishings of indoor environments in the name of refinement, passion for restoration and care for detail: these are the distinctive features of Riccardo Barthel, a Tuscan company with the name of its founder which, with its activity, represents made-in-Italy in the world. The Florence office (an area of more than 1,300 m²), includes the design studio, the laboratories and the showroom; at Forte dei Marmi (in an 800 m² location, that seems an industrial-style loft) there is a further exhibition area and the restoration workshop. Riccardo Barthel’s core business is designing and execution of turnkey furnishings for private homes, hotels, restaurants and shops. In addition, the company also includes the Yacht Division, which operates for the nautical sector. «Our main strength – explains Francesco Barthel, who leads the company with his father Riccardo – is surely designing, to which all Riccardo Barthel world is linked, because through this activity we have the opportunity to express our style and, at the same time, to propose our products that are for 80% handcrafted made by us and for 20% marketed. The world of kitchen is one of the areas in which we distinguish ourselves most for originality, functionality of the proposed solutions and the attention to the needs of customers. In addition, we range from handicrafts to high-tech products.» To its designing activity the company adds the production of bathroom and kitchen accessories with handicraft techniques, as well as handles, lights and ceramics, together with the working of fabrics, glass and wood. In a mix of tradition and modernity, Riccardo Barthel is able to offer its customers sophisticated craftsmanship products and items of high quality brands that work in the sectors of taps, sanitary ware, textile products and household appliances. With regard to the latter, among its main suppliers the company boasts well-known brands, such as DeManincor, Miele, Ilve, Gaggenau, Neff, Sub-Zero, Wolf and Bora, able to offer products with professional performance. So appliances are chosen to fit harmoniously into the kitchen environment, while at the same time achieving functionality and stylistic uniformity.
Style and design recognized in the world
Riccardo Barthel realized many projects in Italy and abroad and is appreciated for the particularity of its creations and for its know-how. «It is not easy to give a definition of our style – Francesco Barthel says -: it is a mix of Italy, France and England …We could simply define it as the Barthel style, because it is quite recognizable and is characterized by functionality, originality , care in the choice of materials and details. Certainly, then, our distinctive feature is the use of the “old” object, which is rich of history and personality and is returned to a contemporary use. For forty years we have been visiting the most important markets in Italy, Spain, France, England, Portugal and Belgium to find “old pieces”. Skill in search and selection allows, at the end of each journey, to bring “home” furniture and objects rich in charm and originality. Sometimes the recovered objects are restored and maintain their original use, while in other cases they are assembled or transformed giving them a new function and another character.» Among the objects that the company creates with recoveries (wood, cast iron, iron, etc.), there are the outer coverings of the hoods: so it is possible to obtain unique and suggestive furnishings.
In addition, Riccardo Barthel has several foreign customers. «In recent years – explains Francesco Barthel – 80% of our turnover was realized with foreign customers. A part of them are people who buy a home in Italy and then contact us to operate on the national territory, while others ask us to make projects abroad. For example, we worked for private residences in New York, London, Tel Aviv and Switzerland. We are often contacted by professionals who come to us to meet the needs of their customers, recognizing in us a specific professionalism. For some projects we have followed every room in the house, for others only a few rooms like kitchen and bathrooms.»
The Kitchen Milano project
KnIndustrie, a company that offers refined tableware and kitchenware, involved Riccardo Barthel in the restyling of the Kitchen Milano store, located in the center of the Lombard chief town and dedicated to kitchen lovers. The Florentine company had the task of completely redesigning the shop structure. «We designed all environments and reconceived the spaces – says Francesco Barthel -. The store has been completely emptied of existing furnishings, leaving only masonry and systems. The manganese-colored walls and the flooring of another shade of brown give warmth to the space and emphasize furniture and displayed objects in the right way.» In addition to the exhibition spaces, there is a kitchen in the store, which can host cooking classes, team building and private dinners. Riccardo Barthel has completely transformed it, also changing the way of access to this environment. There are a selection of recovery items, such as hand-decorated tiles, and latest generation home appliances such as the Bora hobs with integrated suction system. «In this kitchen – explains Francesco Barthel – there is a mix between recovery world and absolutely contemporary and technological appliances.» The ceiling hood is an exclusively decorative element (fumes suction takes place through the suction system of the hobs) that allows to mask the pre-existing air conditioner. The store restyling was done in record time (just one month) in order to inaugurate the reopening of it during the Milano Design Week. «For us – Francesco Barthel concludes – first of all design is functionality, originality and a proper use of materials.»