The young French designer is making a name for himself as a master of unlikely material combinations.
Samy Rio might have only graduated from L’Ecole nationale superieure de creation industrielle in 2014, but he’s already making his mark on the French design scene. ‘I initially studied wood working’ he says, ‘but I realised quite early on that if I wanted to work on many projects, and use different materials ad techniques, I would need to study industrial design’.
Rio’s thinking is perfectly demonstrated by his graduation project, Bambou, which won the Grand Prix at Villa Noailles’s Design Parade 2015, thrusting him into the spotlight.
His latest design is something different again. His Vases Composes, a series of colourful, hand blown vases adorned with ceramic and wooden elements, are the result of the earlier ceramics and glass residencies.
‘I discovered that the two materials are very different, but in the end there is a lot of similarity in the shapes the craftsman achieve’, Rio observes. ‘That’s were the idea of mixing glass and ceramic came from – the specialists are masters of their own technique, but they also need to know how to share their knowledge to create something new and valuable.’
‘I always focused more on the technique, the production methods and the understanding of the tools and the machines that transform a material into an object. If I can’t understand how things are made, I can’t just start designing an object from nothing’.
He still, however, keeps returning to bamboo: he’s working on a new project using the material at the moment, though the details are a bit of a secret.
Unexpectedly, his interest in bamboo has taken him back to his roots. ‘Theres a gigantic botanical garden near where I grew up in the south of France, with many different species of the plant. Its unique in Europe and I source all the bamboo for my practise there.’
He intends to produce his designs in France, despite the limited tradition of bamboo craftsmanship in his native land. He stresses that he aims to use the material in its natural form, rather than as part of a composite material – as its often used in flooring nowadays.