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Riccardo Barthel, Florence: Divine Design

Though German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is widely credited with coining the phrase ‘God is in the details’, we suspect the modern maestro had one eye fixed firmly on Italian neighbour Florence when considering design in such divine terms.

Nowhere else does history-steeped Renaissance influence, heritage rusticity and ancient technique marry so beautifully with contemporary sensibility and convenience, and though the prettiest of all the Tuscan towns will forever bear the fingerprints of the great masters from centuries past, one name has ascended above all others when it comes to combining today’s interiors with the preservation of traditional Florentine craftsmanship.

Since 1976, and latterly alongside his son Francesco, Riccardo Barthel has dedicated his life’s work to the protection and refinement of Florence’s most time-honoured treatments of woods, metals, ceramics and glass. From their showroom-cum-workshop compound in bohemian enclave Oltrarno, the father-son duo plus a team of carpenters, restorers, upholsterers and metalsmiths busy themselves casting, carving and upcycling amidst labyrinthine room upon room of antiques and salvaged pieces either ready to purchase or awaiting their turn under the expert’s eye.

From hand-forged brass door handles and painted vintage tile to marble-topped chests of drawers, free-standing copper bathtubs and worn leather armchairs, there are pieces big and small to capture the heart and luggage space of the visiting interiors lover. But if an item or two just won’t cut la mostarda, and if your budget knows no bounds, opt instead to engage Riccardo for a fully bespoke interior design treatment for your home (or yacht, naturally), a service the company is proud to proclaim has accommodated each and every client request no matter how obscure. God certainly is in the details, and so it seems is Riccardo Barthel.

Riccardo Barthel, Via dei Serragli, 234r, Oltrarno, Florence, +39 055 228 0721,

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