More than just a craftsman, Ottavio Randi immigrated to Melbourne from Venice in 1980 at the invitation of the Australian government. A plane fare, a hostel bed and guaranteed work were offered to Ottavio and so he took the leap of faith.
Ottavio bought his craft as a master furniture maker from Venice to start a new life in Melbourne. In the years that followed, Ottavio with the help of his son Orio, then proceeded to set up Arteveneta in a small workshop in Richmond. The address of their workshop may have changed, now in a Prahran lane-way, but not much else has. Over the years Ottavio and Orio have continued to build their craft around ‘word of mouth’, in particular through the lofty heights of Melbourne’s hospitality industry. They’ve focused on hand crafted furniture and furnished some of Melbourne’s finest eateries such as Vue De Monde, Izakaya Den, Market Lane Coffee, D.O.C. and Neapoli, to name a few.
Much of the work is done with hand tools only. Ottavio is old school, but blessed with a team that also has contemporary design at the fore front of what they create, allowing for ideas and techniques to develop new designs. The team at Arteveneta are loyal and some of them have been with the company for ten years or more. When asked what the secret is to holding onto these skilled craftsman, Orio smiles and points to the commercial kitchen set up in there showroom and occasional events space. “Ottavio has been cooking lunch every day for the team since I can remember. It’s part of our culture, keeping the ‘family’ together”, he explained.
Some of Melbourne’s best keep secrets are in your neighbourhood and Arteveneta is no different.
37 Thomas Pl, Prahran
(03) 9510 0225
(Words by Justin, photos by Ash)