Natural material, the allure of fine craftsmanship, the quality of Made in Italy. But also rigorously controlled and certified ecological content: these are the factors that set the floors and products in wood by Itlas apart. And they explain why a material with an ancient history will be one of the protagonists of the future
Designers and experts agree: construction in the future will make increased use of wood. This natural resource that man has used since the dawn of history is the material that responds best to the needs of the contemporary world: it is ecological, solid, versatile and innovative, and can be applied by architects with a wide range of construction techniques.
Itlas is the Italian leader in the production of prefinished wood floors with two or three layers. The focus on the environment is a cornerstone of the company’s operations, ever since it was founded in the early 1980s at Cordignano, in the province of Treviso. From the outset its research has concentrated on raw materials from controlled forestry, managed in a correct, responsible way. But it has also focused on human wellbeing, thanks to products and working methods that have no harmful effects on people and the environment.
Today the products of Itlas are capable of embodying all the values and potential of wood in the field of architecture and interior design: values of ecology, first of all, but also of natural quality, fine craftsmanship and application flexibility. It is no coincidence that the company’s output has continued to expand: from floors to facings, complements to bathroom furnishings. Because wood is the ideal material for present and future habitat needs, as Patrizio Dei Tos, CEO of Itlas, explains.
From your viewpoint, what are the characteristics that make wood interesting and competitive today in the field of architecture and design?
Wood is a living material. It breathes, it brings man closer to nature, so it can be used to create healthy spaces in which to live. It is a material that continues to attract growing interest on the part of designers and architects for its structural qualities, which make it particularly suitable for use in zones where earthquakes are a threat, and for the construction of tall buildings.
Itlas is the Italian leader in the production of prefinished wood floors. What makes these products competitive with respect to traditional mono-layer solid wood floors?
The floors we produce are guaranteed by a series of certifications regarding the source of the wood, its workmanship, the absence of substances that are damaging to human health. The durability of our products comes from their particular patented structure, and from the materials used to make them: our boards are beautiful as soon as they are installed, and over time they take on a warmth, charm and style that would be hard to achieve with traditional flooring.
All Itlas floors are certified as products 100% Made in Italy. What is the added value of this certification on the national and international market? What is the substantial difference between a product Made in Italy and those made elsewhere?
The 100% Made in Italy certification is issued by the Istituto per la Tutela dei Produttori Italiani only to companies that produce true Italian original quality. This means products that are entirely manufactured in Italy, built with high-quality natural materials, using exclusive models and the typical crafts techniques of our territory. Being able to offer such a guarantee to clients, that their floors have been completely made in Italy, means ensuring quality control, constant research on new objectives of environmental sustainability and protection of human health, an ongoing focus on the territory in which we operate, and safeguarding of the wellbeing of our workers. Especially on the international market, these are qualities that make the difference. But Itlas has something more: with Assi del Cansiglio we can offer a floor 100% Made in Italy composed of an Italian wood, the beech from the age-old forest of Cansiglio.
What are your markets of reference?
From the outset we have focused above all on the Italian market. Personally, I believe that if we are successful in Italy, then we have the potential to be successful anywhere else in the world. There is a clear reason for this: Italian clients are more demanding.
What are the innovations you have introduced in recent years to safeguard the environment and human health?
Our ecological path began in the early years of the new millennium, with the precise choice of sourcing wood only from forests that are managed in a sustainable way. This scrutiny of the quality and origin of wood is always part of our activity, and for over ten years now we have been granted both PEFC (Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes) and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council – Chain of Custody) certification.
The rest of the path has to do with the following choices: to have a certified environmental management system, to set continuous objectives for improvement in terms of energy efficiency and product performance, to use vinyl adhesives with very low formaldehyde content, and water-base varnishes that permit levels of VOC emissions always more in line with European standards. All this implies economic investments of considerable size, which I believe are necessary for a company that wants to be competitive on a national and an international level.
What are the innovations that have improved the performance of wood floors?
Undoubtedly the most important is the patent that is used for both Tavole del Piave and Assi del Cansiglio. It provides a structure that guarantees maximum stability and elasticity for our triple-layer products, for installation as flooring, as suspended ceilings or wall facings.
What are the criteria for the procurement of raw materials? What are the geographical areas of origin?
The criteria are essentially two in number. The first is the demand that reaches us from the market. The second is the search for a secure raw material. Today the market demands almost exclusively oak, which we import from France and Serbia, where thanks to the creation of a new sawmill reporting to the Labor Legno group, we are able to have guaranteed direct supply of wood from state forests with FSC certification.
What are the product types offered by Itlas today?
Itlas now produces prefinished wood floors with two or three layers, coverings for walls and all surfaces, decor complements in solid wood for indoor and outdoor use, and bath furnishings. The leading products of the company are still the floors, especially Tavole del Piave and Assi del Cansiglio. These are three-layer floors with patented technical characteristics, ideal for installation over heating systems, and made with raw materials of certified origin.
In recent years the research of Itlas has expanded to an ‘organic collection’ of furnishings. What are the goals of this project?
In 2013, thanks to the collaboration with Studio Archea, the I Massivi collection was created, with the idea of bringing out the beauty, natural character and value of solid wood, making it the absolute protagonist of the living room. After I Massivi, we developed the 5 Millimetri Progetto Bagno collection, extending the boundaries of our research to the use of natural materials in the field of design.
Who are the most important architects with whom you collaborate?
Starting in 2013, we have launched precious collaboration with a network of internationally acclaimed architects. Besides Marco Casamonti and Studio Archea, we work with Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas, Claudio Silvestrin, Pietro Carlo Pellegrini, Adolfo Natalini and Mario Botta.