Since the environmental issue has also become central in furniture, sustainability has prompted many companies to focus more on what to do than how to do it, triggering, for example, the race for the latest eco-friendly material available or the organic finish that has just come out of the experimental phase. Less travelled is the road that leads, in the name of the environment, to rethinking processes and objectives in an overall vision. For this reason, the story of Bolzan, the Veneto-based sleep atelier specialising in industrial beds made with handcrafted care and dedication, stands out in a positive light.
Telling a story
"Sustainability is an inflated term that can mean many things, but also few," observe Giorgia Zanellato and Daniele Bortotto, designers who have been collaborating with the Treviso-based company for some time. "Before all these aspects, we feel responsible for the design of an object, which should be timeless and last as long as possible. That is why, instead of designing a new bed, we have chosen to propose a new version of our Jack, born five years ago. Designing long-lasting objects, both in terms of form and materials, and telling a story through them, is what we mean by sustainability'.
Rereading a best seller
Jack-e by Bolzan is the virtuous example of how a company responds to the challenges of the times not with a new model, but by opting to reinterpret a best seller in a more sustainable key, through an investigation that pushes the designers to seek out those 0 km manufactures in the territory that bring a renewed quality to the project. Thus, the bed, which was previously made of metal, is now made of reforested and certified ash wood, painted with natural earths that make each piece unrepeatable. The fabrics, also processed without additives, and containing pre-consumer cotton and hemp, a plant that grows with little water, come from Torri Lana, a historic Lombardy factory famous for being a sort of archive of fabrics chosen by 20th-century masters.
Pattern and colour palette
And the leather is produced by Presot, Italy's last natural tannery, which with its manufacture contributed to bringing men to the summit of K2 in 1954, making the soles of the boots used for the expedition. The pattern and palette chosen for the fabric also refer to the history and landscape between Veneto and Friuli where Bolzan is rooted, proposing an evocative version of the willows typical of the area in the colours of the Sacile cathedral frescoes.
Woods and colours
Sustainability, for Bolzan, thus becomes a story of stories, a tale of the land. "The three companies we have collaborated with are different and all unique," explain Zanellato Bortotto. "Loris Giacomin of LorisTill works exclusively with special woods, he knows the history of each material perfectly and treats it as if it were unique. The same goes for the colours, made strictly with natural earths and therefore variable, unpredictable, which let the wood speak more than anything else. Listening to Eugenia di Presot talk about her tannery is always a great pleasure: every detail of her words recalls stories, smells, colours and techniques unchanged over time.
Environment, consciousness and awareness
There is a great respect for leather, and meticulous attention to all the various processing steps. Torri Lana, on the other hand, is a company with a long-standing familiarity with design. Since the post-war period, it has found exceptional solutions for the most prestigious Italian brands and has an amazing textile archive. It is nice to see how fabrics designed more than fifty years ago are still very much up-to-date. Elisabetta and Piercarlo Bolzan have chosen a conscious path for their company, made up of gradual changes. "Sustainability," the designers conclude, "is a journey made up of choices that, if communicated well to the end customer, make a difference not only for the environment, but also for everyone's conscience and awareness.
And for the next Milan Design Week...
In 2023 the work of revisiting and narrating the territory begun in 2022 with Jack-e continues with Bend-e, a classic from the Bolzan catalogue with contemporary forms, again designed by Zanellato Bortotto. Bend-e will be presented during Milan Design Week, in the new Bolzan showroom at Via Mercato 3 in Milan, which will open its doors for the first time on Monday 17 April with the installation Dreams in progress curated by Zanellato/Bortotto.