29th September 2022
Interview with Mauro Scagliarini
Interview by Annamaria Cassani for Folderonline
An opportunity from an emergency .
“I would like to tell you about the Vaia storm, the damages it caused in 2018 on the territory of Belluno and how an enlightened businessman was able to understand how to recover the material (spruce wood) in order to create a product for architecture”.
This is what our friend Sabrina Giacchetti, media relations professional, told us last July.
It was a real pleasure meeting Mauro Scagliarini, CEO of S-WOOD, a company specialized in in eco-friendly indoor and outdoor coverings.
Exactly four years ago, at the end of October, nature wanted to make its tremendous, uncontrollable power felt, unleashing a storm (up to the 12th degree, the highest intensity according to the Beaufort scale) on the central eastern Alps with epicentre in the Belluno Dolomites: for five days the area has been affected by gusts of scirocco at 217 km/h, affecting 41.000 hectares of forest, with almost 9 million cubic meters of felled timber (roughly 7 times the amount for industrial purposes that Italian sawmills are able to use in one year).
After this tragedy, S-WOOD takes on the task to enhance the timber from the damaged woods turning this asset in 100% sustainable products.
Let's go into detail with Mauro Scagliarini.
Mauro, when was the company established and where is it based?
S-WOOD is a company specialized in coverings and was born on February 14th 2019 in the heart of the Belluno Dolomites. It comes from a 17 years’ experience on outdoor related services: flooring, coverings and furniture components made with natural and technical timber. The continuous research of alternative, efficient, exclusive and sustainable materials led to the creation of this new start-up, a company attentive to change and a new sensibility.
That “S” in front of WOOD, in the name of the company, stands for…?
“S” represents all the sustainable and respectful things we could do in the world of contemporary architecture.
It is a solidarity net. S-WOOD products are innovative, high quality and with a strong vocation for sustainability: the basic concept and heart of the project. The respect for our staff and our customers is at the heart of our mission.
Mauro, let’s try to describe the immediate emotional impact of the Vaia storm and the following feeling?
It was enough to live the moment:
you wake up one morning and, seeing the landscape of the mountains that surrounds us radically changed, you are hit with a sense of emptiness and bewilderment.
For those who, like us, live and love the mountain it was a great loss, that changed permanently our territory. The following feeling was to give back to the territory and the lost vegetation a new light and a new use. It took less than 30 days to define what to do and how to enhance this material combining ideas and heart.
Three production lines for S-WOOD coverings: the company website shows the features, easy to read, even for the non-experts and a download area for the three catalogues. Is there technical support from the company for those who want more details? Who are your customers and how do you relate to them?
S-WOOD has a great technical and executive consulting ability and know-how, from the project idea to the realization, supporting all professionals, such as architects, designers, design studios and also the private customer in order to better meet individual needs. This support comes from a 20 years’ experience, allowing us to deliver the finished work ready to use.
You talked about sustainability and respect. I think respect should be the basic principle of every human relation and it should be transmitted by DNA. What other values lead your company? I mean, the principles or actions that, outside the current and widespread greenwashing climate, the company is able to maintain.
It’s easy to list and maintain them:
constantly searching the innovation, putting the person at the centre of projects, promoting a circular economy, pursuing elegance in design, focusing on ideas and heart.
Ideas and heart: a combination showing even on the homepage of your website: it seems to be very important for the company!
S-WOOD lives in the world of projects. Our world is not limited to the mere commercialization of products, but, as I said before, we offer ourselves as partners in realizing the ideas of professionals, adding our skills based on a constant search for simple solutions – and I want to emphasize simple – to the requests that we are asked.
As for the heart, well, we are from Belluno and we live among the Dolomiti, UNESCO world heritage site.
I would never have thought to start a project such as S-WOOD if my heart, our heart, wasn’t full of love for this territory, that was so hurt by the Vaia storm.
I was there the days after the event, cutting with the chainsaw the spruce trunks felled by the storm, in order to open passages. “And now what?” we asked ourselves, dismayed at the sight of millions of felled trees. From this simple, but spontaneous question, S-WOOD was born.
SPACE MAX SPACE DECK
LAVA brushed finish
Green Pea / Turin
BLACK OAK finish
SPACE LIGHT SPACE DECK
STONE brushed finish
So, Mauro, one could say that from an emergency emerged an opportunity: could this be read as a slogan or is it what really happened for S-WOOD?
Of course! S-WOOD enhances the timber coming from the woods damaged by the Vaia storm and its sawdust flours, turning this material in 100% sustainable products. All the energy processes are “green”. The “Legno di Vaia” with its ennoblement process through heat treatment, making it suitable for outdoor coverings, and the product “Vaia Plus” are materials proudly MADE IN ITALY.
Reusing sawdust flour, mixed with PVC coming from processing scrap, allows us to create high performance products for all the applications in outdoor coverings and flooring. These products enable a virtuous circle in the life of the materials they are made of. For example, “Vaia Plus” can be ground and reproduced several times, thus making a high sustainability product eternal.
I want to come back on the topic of the importance of using certain words. Your “business card” is about sustainability as well as “continuous research of alternative, efficient, exclusive and sustainable materials”.
We are a very young reality based on sustainability, innovation and research of products for the architecture expressing contemporary society. For S-WOOD, paying attention to the strict regulatory parameters was unavoidable and necessary, especially when they are changing our products vision, like on interventions on big buildings (for example, fire resistance). Today our primary requirement is to keep realizing products with absolutely eco-friendly cycles and exclusivity.
What is the GREEN PEA project and what was S-WOOD role?
Green Pea is the biggest ecostore, an eco-friendly products seller, made in Turin in the Lingotto area. It’s a “place of beauty and respect” with a new way of consuming: with every purchase you can be part of the change.
S-WOOD turned the Vaia storm into an architectural opportunity.
The event happened 45 days before the final choice of the materials for this great work, that with its 15.000 sqm overlooks one of the most famous areas of Turin. The reaction speed of S-WOOD in proposing this kind of solution, ennobling the felled spruce and the story telling about this specific work, led the client to a clear choice, resonating still today in the tale of Green Pea.
Some preview of future and ongoing works?
Today S-WOOD is involved in the prestigious residential building called “Uptown” in Turin, located under the queen’s villa and overlooking Piazza San Carlo. With the line “Space”, S-WOOD is using more than 6.000 sqm between floorings, façade cladding and sunshades, in addition to particular boiserie elements completing the indoor architectural look.
Other important projects are under development in Emilia Romagna and Lombardia, an important residential centre and a private mansion, in addition to medium and small interventions happening in all northern Italy.
Mauro, let’s explore your story about the Green Pea project at a later date, and its collaboration between S-WOOD and the Farinetti Family, head of Eataly?
Sure! Meanwhile, I will send you the content of a special letter that I sent four years ago. Oscar Farinetti made it public, reading it last June at an event for the presentation of S-WOOD products. It contains a tragic tale and simultaneously an optimistic look towards the future: it was fundamental for the birth of the brand.
Thank you Mauro, it will certainly be a suggestive reading, especially listening to the tale of the birth of a start up.