Born in Tokyo, Japan, Riki Watanabe played an influential role in Japanese industrial design during the post-Second World War years. After graduation at Tokyo Polytechnic High School, Department of Forestry in 1936, Riki Watanabe started to work for a craft manufacturer in the Gunma prefecture of Tokyo where Bruno Taut supervised timber products and bamboo ware.
Riki Watanabe established the Riki Watanabe Design Studio in 1949 and became a freelance designer. Since then, he started furniture design at the request of Kiyoshi Seike and co-designed the bar "Jungfrau" with Isamu Kenmochi. In 1952, the Industrial Designer Association was established and appointed Riki Watanabe as the administrative officer. Engaged in redevelopment of cane furniture in the magazine "Modern Living", his representative works "Torii Stool" and "Round Center Table" were awarded the prize of Compasso d'oro at the Milano Triennale. He has also involved in interior design for Keio Plaza Hotel and Prince Hotel, furniture design, and currently in clock and watches design for Lemnos and Seiko.