Samy Rio

Creating by making as few changes to nature is what I love.

A citizen of the world before becoming a designer, Samy Rio not only visualises everyday objects and new construction materials, but also thinks about what would make the ideal tools: this way he keeps control of the life cycle of a product from its conception to the finished product.

Updated on 16/12/2019

2 min

For four years, Samy Rio studied cabinet making before joining the highly successful École nationale supérieure de création industrielle (Higher National School for Industrial Creation) in Paris, from which he graduated in 2014.

His creations mirror this dual training in craft and industry. Aware of environmental issues, Samy Rio promotes natural materials - replacing plastic, for example - while investigating what would work best aesthetically. His work, a testament to his commitment, calls into question both the material and production method.

Samy Rio grew up amongst the foliage of the bamboo groves of Anduze, Gard. This material soon fascinated him, and the designer decided to work with it, transforming it as little as possible. This was a challenge achieved with flying colours : his final-year project focused on the industrialisation of bamboo tubes and won a jury commendation, as well as the Design Parade Grand Prix at the Villa Noailles in Hyères a year later in 2015.

Building on this success, the young designer developed the same approach using other materials – glass, wood and ceramics – notably during a residency at the Sèvres Cité de la céramique (Sèvres City of Ceramics) and the International Centre for Glass and Visual Arts in Marseille between 2015 and 2016.

The designer plays with materials and shapes, but above all with production methods, and expertly combines wood, ceramics and glass for his vases.

After several residencies in France, the Gardois designer went to the place where bamboo is plentiful. In the summer of 2016 he went to Taiwan for a residency at the National Institute for Research and Development in Crafts, and then, three years later between May and August 2019, to Villa Kujoyama in Kyoto, Japan, where he developed a durable honeycomb panel made of bamboo that can be used in construction or furniture.

The Manufacture de Sèvres exhibited his creations at the PAD (Pavillon of Art and Design) and he presented his work at Art Bruxelles and Van Cleef & Arpels during Design Week in Milan in April 2018.

Wherever he is, Samy Rio is constantly on the lookout for new ways to create sustainably around the world.

  • 2014


    Samy Rio wins a jury commendation at the ENSCI-les Ateliers (Higher National School for Industrial Creation) graduation ceremony.

  • 2015


    He is awarded the Design Parade Grand Prix at the Villa Noailles in Hyères.

  • 2016


    The designer spends a year in residence at the International Centre for Glass and Visual Arts in Marseille and the Cité de la céramique in Sèvres.

  • 2018


    Samy Rio exhibits a series of handmade tribal vases, entitled “Esthétiques totémiques” (“Totem aesthetics”) at ARCHIK.

  • 2019


    He shows at the “Design orienté verre” (“Glass-Oriented Design”) exhibition at the Grand-Hornu Innovation and Design Centre in Belgium, in collaboration with the Marseille International Centre for Glass and Visual Arts.

The Institut français and the project

In 2019, Samy Rio was selected to spend time at the Villa Kujoyama, a residency for artists in Japan supported by the Institut français.

Find out more information about Villa Kujoyama

L'institut français, LAB