R.I.O.F. Design Manifesto

Ever since the so-called „Club of Rome“ in the 70s, we are aware of the rapid depletion of resources and the explosive increase of our population.
During the 80s it was then finally proven that it is mainly CO2 that will significantly change the climate of the world we live in.

In order to ensure social peace, we do not only have to secure jobs, but also create new employment opportunities to counteract the increasing production efficiency. We need sustained economic growth to increase our wealth while drastically reducing gas emissions and the consumption of fossil resources – but can we do that?

Masterminds and scientists such as O2, Schmidt-Bleek, von Weizsaecker, Braungart, Toffler and many more have shown up paths that we could tread to achieve these seemingly divergent targets. However, all these paths demand a radical rethink, a fundamental change of paradigms.

RIOF is willing to follow these paths by developing and offering products and services on the basis of the following criteria:

High ethics - High aesthetics - High technique


RIOF does not only see the finished product, but influences the entire product life cycle.
RIOF acts within closed material loops (CML) and designs the complete product life cycle including the production of raw materials, the transport, the manufacturing process and the reintegration of the materials used into the material cycle.

Resource selection and procurement:

RIOF mainly focuses on local renewable resources (RRs) to minimise transport energy.
The most important aspect when using RRs is to ensure that they are hardly or not mixed with chemicals (glues, varnishes), thereby retaining their biodegradability. Raw materials such as, among others, metals and glass are only used when they are a technical necessity. And even then these materials are only incorporated as homogenously as possible to facilitate the recycling process. It is important to avoid materials that have toxic effects (PVC etc.) and composites that are difficult to separate.


Economics of scale have lead to excessive transport volumes regarding the delivery of parts and resources to the production plants and the subsequent distribution to the customers. However, this model is only seemingly profitable due to the fact that the real transport costs (environmental damage through particulate matter, low level ozone, CO2 emission from fossils, noise for residents etc.) are not included in the price calculations.

The so-called „production plant of the future“ (a research project of BMVIT - the Austrian ministry for traffic, innovation and technology) wants to change production processes with up-to-date information technology to ensure that local small batch production is competitive again. Furthermore, it wants to guarantee that the remaining necessary transports are as efficient as possible, mainly through volume decrease, reusable packaging, rail freight etc. Another option is, however, to substitute transport by sending production data rather than materials.


The production itself avoids all energy intensive processes. The necessary primary energy is provided by renewable sources (solar, wind, water). Materials and energy are used in a significantly more efficient manner. Another prerequisite is a social work ethic, which, among other aspects, rules out child labour, secures fair wages and guarantees humane working conditions.


RIOF designs and economises in closed material loops (CML). This means the „reincarnation“ of all materials, thereby making dumpsites obsolete. The end of one product should be seen as the birth of the following product.

The main aim is to create products that can easily be dissected into both their technical and biogenic components. The technical components are then recycled, while the biogenic components are, via a composting process, either transformed into other products or used for thermal energy production.


  • not eco-fundamentalist
  • essential
  • following the motto „less is more“

RIOF gives impulses for a new aesthetic and establishes a new design idiom.

The modern trend, which started at the beginning of the twentieth century, was based on the motto „form follows function“, thereby significantly influencing that particular period via its products. It was mainly a period of reconstruction with a high demand for products following the years of deprivation during the war.
Roughly half a century later the motto was changed to „form follows fantasy“. The fulfilling of basic needs was no longer the main target and suddenly the choice within a certain product category began to take over. A fine example for this development is the Dane Verner Panton, who was the first to highlight the „experience factor“ a product can supply.
Today we face a completely different challenge. We are all expected to develop new sustainable products on the one hand, and to consume the right products on the other. The new paradigm „form follows sustainable development“ is not only the basis for a new design idiom, but also leads to a radically different product perception culture, which defines itself via a graphic design, changed surface characteristics (colour/material interplay), an authentic feel and a different smell:

  • Clear shapes guide the user
  • No photographic depiction of an ideal nature, but pure genuineness. A tree without branches does not exist; hence there is no tree without branch nodes.
  • No plastic coating (as in veneer between the user's hand and the product surface).
  • The smell of objects is hard to perceive consciously, but nevertheless triggers a sustained perception. RIOF does not smell of plastic.

The eco-intelligent design concept is an intrinsic contributor to the product perception. The times when manufacturers of eco-products had to demonstratively communicate their intentions are over. R.I.O.F has an intrinsic quality that can only be grasped by individuals with a heightened perception level and trained senses.


The correct processing of solid wood has a long craftsmanship tradition. So to speak of it as „highly technical“ may seem slightly exaggerated at first glance. RIOF studies these traditions and transforms them into the language of CNC-controlled processing machines. The aforementioned craftsmanship traditions have been on the decline in this industry ever since the invention of adhesives that are superior to the swelling force of wood itself and the rapid rise of labour costs.

New wood joining systems through high-tech and tradition.

The study of these traditional construction principles translates directly into the regional feel of the products. We believe the user should be able to feel the environment that RIOF comes from in an honest and straightforward way. After all, we are what we are!

Some of the designs in our collection represent furniture items that have already existed or still exist on the market. In these cases we simply believed in the characteristics of these items and decided to translate them into our own „RIOF language“. We do not feel the urge to invent everything anew for the sake of it, but strive to select the right concepts to produce and offer according to the „FFSD“ premise.
However, we want to avoid the notion that we subscribe to the aforementioned motto to 100% without being capable of compromises. We reserve the freedom to act as the situation requires. It would be a mistake to decrease the quality of a furniture item just for the sake of using 100% wood to manufacture it. The main aim is to make sure the materials remain separable and can be reintegrated into the respective material cycle at the end of the product's lifespan.

RIOF strives to be honest and open.
A majority of certifications and environmental assessment systems fail due to a lack of objectivity – the results can be influenced too easily.
RIOF aims to explain the concept of a product as comprehensible as possible, even if it leads to a heightened vulnerability.