Growing up in Tunisia and holidaying with his family at hotels and resorts, Riadh Bouaziz – even from a young age – was captivated by how an atmosphere of luxury could impact a person’s feelings and emotions. “It made me determined to work in the hospitality industry in some way, and spread these feelings of comfort and happiness to other people,” he says.
Fast forward a few decades and that aspirational young boy is not only the founder and CEO of a French company serving the luxury hospitality and wellness markets – he’s also regarded by his peers as an inspirational change-maker who has successfully elevated the design and manufacture of linen to a commercial art form.
With Bouaziz at the helm, RKF Luxury Linen was always destined to be so much more than ‘just another product supplier’ to luxury brands. It’s grown into a sought-after partner for the creation of hospitality and wellness linen concepts that are unrivalled in their originality and attention to detail.
“Our partners are proud to be associated with RKF, because they know how our B2B reputation will enhance their own brand, and bring the customer experience to a whole new level,” says Bouaziz.
The client journey
In addition to this, the RKF-client relationship has always been key, as “that’s where the magic happens”, says Bouaziz. “We love to be involved from the very beginning of a project, ideally even before the designers have been appointed, as we see linens as integral to the development of the interiors and overall customer experience.
“Every design must tell a story – an authentic, captivating and enchanting story – and that’s what we set out to do on each project, paying homage to the past while creating a vision for the future.
“Before we even discuss the choice of fabrics or colours, our design team undertakes an in-depth period of research around elements such as the history of the building, its unique architectural forms, the landscape that surrounds it, etc,” says Bouaziz.
For one high profile hotel project in London, Bouaziz was inspired by the undulating shape of the balconies, and for historical context, researched the fabric manufacturing processes and trends of the 60s – when the building was first erected. “Our site in Luxeuil les Bains is the oldest textile factory in Europe, dating back to 1834. This enables us to access archives to research the fabric processes of the time – to come up with something that’s authentic, yet with a modern twist.”
On another luxury project – this time a wellness retreat in a desert landscape – the RKF team researched the indigenous plants of the region and discovered a desert herb that only needs a few droplets of water each year to survive in an intensely arid environment.
So the team based their whole linen concept around this plant that, as a symbol of thriving life and resilience, fitted perfectly into the ethos of the wellness resort.
Made in France
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2020, RKF has worked with more than 25,000 clients, from prestigious French palace hotels to five-star global hotel chains and many private projects for sheiks, princesses and celebrities.
In all that time, RKF has stayed committed to its ‘Made In France’ roots, investing heavily in research, development and manufacturing, so its clients can be confident in both the provenance and quality of its materials.
Three of its award-winning fabrics – DreamSoft®, Timeless® and MicroFeel® – are patented. And Bouaziz, who originally studied engineering in the northern France region where his empire now flourishes, says three new patents are pending this year.
The past two decades have seen explosive change and growth for RKF, and there are no signs of this slowing down. One recently signed contract is with the prestigious Raffles Group, which is in the process of redesigning all its global properties. RKF has joined the project at the ground level – so that linens for the restaurant, bedrooms and spa will be integral to the new Raffles look worldwide.
And this, of course, is just where Bouaziz wants to be. He says: “For so long, linens have been an after-thought in the hospitality and wellness design process. But RKF has changed the landscape of commercial linen, making it an essential starting point – something that delivers beautiful, sustainable concepts for our clients, and an unforgettable experience of luxury for their customers.”