The Third Life of Timber
In April I had the opportunity to visit the Milan Furniture Fair and amongst all the fun, creativity and inspiration one unique project truly grabbed my attention. Firstly I want to point out that during the fair everyone was talking about it, saying it was a must see. The slow design process of re-using wine barrels to make furniture was enough to make me want to see it but I really didn’t expect the passionate process which I found when I got there.
Barrique is a project founded through a partnership between San Partigiano Maurizio and Davide Riva, and the support of Federvini, FederlegnoArredo and Cosmit. The project called on 30 established architects and designers to create unique pieces of furniture using French oak casks from the Community’s winery. This project has successfully re-used, recycled and transformed wine barrels which would otherwise been thrown out. This amazing project has not only made an incredible slow design initiative but has more importantly revived and old trade and involved the young community by working in the carpentry and wrought iron workshops.
When I first walked towards the Barrique exhibit, I didn’t quite realize that this was the furniture everyone had been talking about. It was so impeccably presented it didn’t at all look like it was made from re-claimed materials. It took a second and even third look to comprehend that these unique pieces of furniture were indeed made of old wine barrels. Upon closer inspection the furniture only becomes more intriguing. The dedicated craftsmanship used to re-claim the old wine barrels into chairs, tables, lamps was only one of my fascinations. What really drew me was how alive the furniture felt and the their slogan “La terza vita del legno” (the third life of wood) says it all, being in the vicinity of a piece of this furniture really gives you that feeling of continuous life and history. To quote Davide Riva, one of the founders of Barrique:
“Casks, precious custodians in the life of wine, after their ﬁrst life as a tree, have the poetic task of preserving and ageing their important contents. It is thanks to them that wine becomes enriched with various aromas and unusual ﬂavours. In short, a real work of art is born.At the conclusion of their important labour, many are sadly often left to an end not beﬁtting the painstaking work that they accomplished, being used as pulp.”
I could not explain it better myself, for more information you can view the full Barrique catalogue here.
I hope the third life of timber inspired you as much as it did me.