Design Hotels
Search Destination
Check-in - Check-out
Show search capsule Menu Close


At the Edge of the Real and Surreal


Riccardo Fornoni KV

Words Vidula KotianDate 12 October 2023

It’s easy to get sucked into Riccardo Fornoni’s incredibly pleasing and soothing fictional getaways that are a cross between architecture and art.

In fact, the surreal worlds he constructs blend a modern and futuristic design style so alluring that he’s had requests for editorial shoots at these imagined interiors. The founder of the creative studio Cream Atelier gained popularity in the throes of the pandemic for the oceanside digital home “Villa Saraceni”, which he created with London-based interior designer and creative director Charlotte Taylor. Summery details like ceramic pots, billowing curtains, and a sun-lounging chair have been included throughout. Saraceni is a prime example of the Italian architect, set designer, and digital artist’s ability to appeal to armchair escapists. Expressed through the usage of CGI and animation, his works have been published on magazines and digital platforms like designboom, Elle Decor, AD magazine, Ignant, and more.

Riccardo Fornoni 01

Villa Soo Inspired by Cesar Manrique's designs

Riccardo Fornoni 02

Riccardo Fornoni At the very vanguard of digital culture

“I think architecture is an amazing field as it leaves you the freedom to operate in many related disciplines.”



What inspired you to explore art and technology in the first place?

I started my journey into the art world by studying at an art school first, then graduating in architecture at Politecnico di Milano. I think architecture is an amazing field as it leaves you the freedom to operate in many related disciplines. While I was studying, I started doing my very first set designs by creating commercial visuals for Option skateboards, a local skate brand which I’m very attached to. After my graduation, I started working as a 3D artist for an architectural studio and from there I decided to go deeper in the technology field, using digital tools to express my architectural and more generally spatial ideas.

What attracts you to spatial design?

The beauty of generating spaces for humans (even if fictionally, sometimes) it’s something that has always fascinated me. With the architectural discipline being at the edge of art and science, we all know attention must be paid to its function and people’s needs first, and only secondarily to its aesthetics. Working with digital simulations allows us to be more creative by having less regard for the most common physical constraints. This doesn’t mean we should be completely careless about it though; to me, it is very important to keep in mind what’s physically possible and what’s not, even if we’re in the digital realm. It also helps the viewer to be more familiar with the experience and at the same time to feel something new, perhaps at the edge of the real and the surreal world.

Riccardo Fornoni 03

Villa Saraceni A collaboration with Charlotte Taylor, visualized at Scala dei Turchi, Sicily



How did the virtual environment help with your mental wellbeing during the pandemic?

During the pandemic, I started having a deeper approach to my designs. Thanks to the various lockdowns, I had more time to reflect on my discipline (and how to start in a professional way). Getting lost in the digital worlds I was designing has been something that really changed my perspective at that time. It guided me to my current practice which I’m very happy to work on, so it really helped me to grow both professionally and personally.

What is your view of NFTs?

NFTs and Web3 in general has been a game changer for (but not only) the digital art field, where artists and designers are finally able to protect and sell their pieces as unique and certified items. That’s something that was really missing before. Although its full potential and impact is yet to be realized, it is already opening new horizons to many people.

The Bird House A short film featuring a retrofuturistic home

Riccardo Fornoni 05

An architectural project Realized for Monde Singulier design marketplace

“Working with digital simulations allows us to be more creative by having less regard for the most common physical constraints. This doesn’t mean we should be completely careless about it though...”

Riccardo Fornoni 06

Fictional getaways Fornoni creates 3D rendered villas

Riccardo Fornoni 07

Surreal in the real Fornoni likes to keep his renderings in the realistic realm with surreal elements



What do you think is the role of digital art in our increasingly tech-driven world?

I think the role of digital art is the same as that of the traditional one. Both can be spread through digital channels, and both have the capability to send messages or express the artist’s feelings visually.

Are you ever surprised by the reaction you get to your art?

Sometimes I really am, especially when TV channels or people get in touch with me asking for interviews at the places that I designed. Unfortunately I have to tell them that it exists only digitally. Lots of people came to me and Charlotte asking to rent Villa Saraceni, a project we designed back in 2020.

Riccardo Fornoni 10

Sunset at Venus Rock For Kástra Elión Spirits

Riccardo Fornoni 08

Temporary Bedroom A modernist loft in NYC

Riccardo Fornoni 09

Studio Hoth A spacecraft design studio



How do you balance the physical world and personal connection with the digital world where we spend so much time?

I’m spending a lot of time in front of the computer but this never created problems to me in the physical world. I think a great way to make me escape the screens is skateboarding with my friends. Also visiting natural spots, breathing fresh air, and sometimes going to the sea helps me.

Riccardo Fornoni 11

In the physical world Fornoni is an avid skateboarder

Next article