Carlo Riva: A True Great
His innovations and creations have left an indelible mark in the history of lifestyle and design, making Riva the most famous boatyard of all times and a symbol of Italy’s productiveness
The entire world of yachting, the Ferretti Group and the Riva Shipyards are grieving over the loss of an unrivalled creator of boats, a master of style and elegance, a giant of the Italian industrial and entrepreneurial history. At the age of 95 a unique man who has become legend, Mr. Carlo Riva has passed away. Mr. Riva was not just one of the most internationally esteemed and renowned entrepreneurs in the pleasure craft industry. His innovations and creations have left an indelible mark in the history of lifestyle and design, making Riva the most famous boatyard of all times and a symbol of Italy’s productiveness.
He was an extraordinary man, the legend of a whole era that saw the launching of Italian design onto the world stage, from the days of ‘La Dolce Vita’ through to the present day. Born in 1922 during the golden era of motorboating, he was driven from a very early age by a boundless passion for boats and for working in boatyards. He joined the family business very young and in the 1954 opened new futuristic shipyard where the idea of the boat were transformed to unique product in terms of aesthetic and functional qualities, elegance and attention to detail.
Carlo Riva was the creator of Riva’s golden age, the master shipbuilder who transformed the brand and its boats into a status symbol, thanks to models like Ariston, Tritone, Sebino, Florida, through to the ‘legendary’ Aquarama. In the 50s and 60s, during Italy’s industrial reconstruction and ‘economic miracle’ driven by a fascination for speed and racing cars, Mr. Riva grasped the spirit of the age and created boats in wood with an unmistakable design.
The first of these was the Ariston, about which Mr. Riva said: ‘It was designed with love and is strong and pure like a thoroughbred horse. Unforgettable! My Lord of the seas.’ The yachts created under Mr. Riva’s direction have all been inspired by an idea which anticipated demand, launching a new fashion which is always the result of a research in design and construction which always makes difference. With the production of Aquarama, in 1962, Riva became the foremost and iconic boatyard in the yachting world.
Again in 1969 Mr. Riva showed entrepreneurial foresight when he created the first fiberglass boat, demonstrating his great capacity for innovation while at the same time preserving traditional values. His unique and inexhaustible spirit comes through not just from the boats he made but also from his ability to predict needs and opportunities.
Having left the shipyard in 1972, the focus of Mr. Riva interests shifted to the International Tourist Port of Rapallo but he has always been there to give advice, help and support to the Riva Boatyards. Carlo Riva died peacefully in his home town of Sarnico, perhaps, as he himself used to say, ‘With a touch of nostalgia in reliving the long ride of my wonderful life as a boatman’. Farewell Mr. Riva and enjoy the sea in your last voyage towards the horizon.