Patrizio Dei Tos is CEO of Itlas. He is an entrepreneur who built his company on a revolutionary idea: to use the wood from the maintenance of Italian and Serbian forests, oak, to produce floors. A choice that a few decades ago no one would have ever imagined making, because forest maintenance, in common thought, produced only firewood. The floors and wooden surfaces were mostly made with exotic essences imported from the Far East or Africa. Today the intuition of Patrizio Dei Tos is a happy example of the intelligent use of local forests, whose trees are cut for normal maintenance and which find a second life cycle in homes. "Often our customers tell me that it is like having a piece of forest at home: they are happy to have chosen a product with a history linked to the territory and the result of an intrinsically ecological idea," explains Dei Tos.
Where does the passion for forests come from?
“When I was a child, I used to accompany my father, who made hardwood floors, in the forests. The trees to be cut were chosen, but at the time a different ecological awareness was already forming. Cutting down trees was a gesture that saddened me and I thought I never wanted to do the same thing. I said to myself: it's like hurting nature. I had not yet understood that the forest must be looked after and that a raw material originates from that care which, if not used, is wasted or, in the worst case scenario, contributes to worsening the carbon footprint ".
So Itlas was born from the idea of using the felled trees to transform them into wood, into raw materials ...
"Understanding how a forest lives and works and the relationship of beneficial reciprocity with the human being means having a conscious attitude towards nature and the territory we inhabit. Working with wood today is an act of sustainability. I have always wanted to link my company to the Cansiglio Forest, because it is a few kilometers from the company, because in this way I work at zero kilometer and I position myself at the end of a virtuous cycle. Nobody did it because the idea was that only exotic woods were precious and we had to make a great effort to go against the tide. But we have not invented anything: the idea of using beech inside in architecture is not new. Already in 1400 the Venetians produced the oars with this wood. And then, later, the beech has entered the Venetian villas and Venetian palaces. With Itlas we took up this story and told it in the present ".
What has been the evolution of the company?
“My main concern was to continue to have access to a constant raw material in terms of origin and quality, while increasing production. I have entered into collaboration agreements with Serbia, in order to use the most beautiful oak in the world, that of the Slavonian Forest. We have once again invested in the land of trees, built a sawmill and ensured the creation of benefits for the local community. Initially we were greeted with some diffidence, today we collaborate with environmentalists and share projects, passions, stories with those who work in the forest every day. I have the feeling that I have done something useful and good, for the planet and for people ”.
What is Itlas' most innovative product right now?
“We have developed a project: Ecos, sustainable circular economy, which uses secondary raw material for wooden surfaces, floors and walls, is a new use of parts of material that would otherwise be lost. The floor is called Online and has technical and aesthetic characteristics similar to the other Itlas products. But the point was first of all to update the production lines, find ways not to waste material and ensure the best use of the raw material. Le Righe is the wall version of the same product. It is a skin that covers the surfaces in the form of large sheets of wood. Le Righe is a really important typological innovation ".
What is the most difficult part from a strategic point of view?
“Communicating our choices and our product is very complex. It is difficult to explain that we do not have only business intentions, but we also want to do something useful for the forests and for the people. The most effective way to talk and talk about Itlas is to bring professionals, local inhabitants and institutional figures to walk in the forests. To evoke the stories, the creatures, the passion we have for this part of the planet. The message always comes, loud and clear ”.