An exhibition at Domotex 2019 traces the many lives of wood

Hannover – Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, wildfires. Recent years have showcased the climate change-driven natural disasters and their implications for the planet. For some, this makes resourceful use of the material resources we have more important than ever. At Domotex 2019, the world's leading floor coverings trade fair taking place in Hannover from 11-14 January, the Wood Lifecycle exhibition will highlight wood's virtues, and the trends and innovation surrounding it in a special presentation inspired by the fair's keynote theme Create'n'Connect.

'Wood is a renewable resource, clean and sustainable, not only because it is "natural", but because of the way we treat and apply it,'  said architect Giulio Ceppi, founder and creative director of Milan-based Total Tool, who designed and curated the show. Part of the Framing Trends showcase in Hall 9, which will include interactive stations, Wood Lifecycle will bring together marquee Italian brands to focus on wood's ecological importance: from tree planting and timber processing through finished and, hopefully, recycled product.

Wood is a renewable resource, clean and sustainable, not only because it is "natural", but because of the way we treat and apply it

From top to bottom: A roomful of wood finishes by Bianchini & Capponi, Leftover Design Factory's scrap wood furniture and Ceppi's method for printing glass textures on oak parquet.

Because wood is so diverse (it exists across a spectrum of types, grain patterns, colors and dimensions) it grants extreme creative latitude to anyone working with it. This becomes clear in presentations that demonstrate advances in product individualization, sustainability, energy efficiency and material use.

Ceppi shows how ZanusoLegno made products from logs buried underground due to landslides and how Eumakers is using wood filaments in 3D printing and adhesive technologies. Swiss-based Italian office FE's AlchemicLab artisanally mixes precious stones and metals into wood parquets to cleverly individualize flooring. Leftover Design Factory, based in Italy and Switzerland, also combines (scrap) wood with leather, marble and metals to create plywood furniture. In a single production step, Milan's Wood-Skin can now generate deep 3D surfaces to clad walls and ceilings.

Wood-Skin has developed a technique by which, in only a single production step, it can generate voluminous 3D surface geometries for wall and ceiling claddings. Photos by Marcello Tomasi.

Today, improvements in digitization are also helping designers customize work in wood, relying on online platforms that allow customers to select preferences, as well as technologies, such as digital printing, that make personalization easier and easier. 'Everything is going to change because of digitization, even in a traditionally conservative sector such as wood,' said Ceppi, who will also present one of his own designs, a method for digitally printing glass textures and patterns on oak parquet produced by ANM.

'When we talk about wood, we have to keep in mind that to use a natural material does not necessarily mean to be sustainable,' Ceppi said. 'One of the fundamental challenges for architecture and interior architecture – if we want to safeguard the future of our planet – is to address the entire lifecycle of products and, indeed, of whole building projects.'

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