Gianni Cantarutti is a true wood enthusiast whose life is devoted to the responsible use of this precious material. To be exact, he can be described as a wood expert with international experience. But the creativity he has demonstrated in promoting and spreading knowledge of this material over the years is tangible proof of just how limited this definition is…
Wood as the essence of life
Gianni Cantarutti was born in San Giovanni al Natisone near Udine and his relationship with wood began right from the start: for a living, his parents cut young black locust trees in the woods, from which to make stakes for growing vines. And Gianni accompanied them from a very young age.
What is more, as far back as early childhood, he collected small pieces of wood and never missed opportunity to get close to this wonderful, living material, be it woodchip, wedges or little sticks.
After earning his diploma as Furniture and Crafts Manufacturing Technician (TIMA) at the vocational college in San Giovanni al Natisone in 1982, Gianni went on to found Timber four years later, a small business that used saw timber to produce furniture and flooring.
He then became an inspector of timber and derived products and, in 1991, began to travel to learn close to about the wood harvesting industry: from Poland to the Amazonian Rainforest, Madagascar, China, Russia and Oceania, until 1997, when he went back into education to earn a degree in Political Science specialising in international politics at the University of Trieste.
Travelling to broaden the mind
In 1998, having taken the role of Technical/Design Manager for Sevi 1831 (one of the oldest producers of wooden toys in Europe), Gianni began to travel all over South East Asia. This provided him with more in-depth and complete knowledge, thanks in part to the opportunity of experiencing wood in direct contact with the people who use it.
This greater understanding of the types of timber and different processing methods also leads to new convictions, such as the importance of responsible forestry, the sustainable management of forests and plantations, without ever underestimating the impact of wood harvesting on local cultures and the environment. This is why he is a supporter and an associate of the FSC.
Wood culture: Gianni Cantarutti’s Xylotheque
Having worked selling wood for construction and furnishings from 2008 to 2013, Gianni works with 4WOOD, selling high-quality woodworking tools from international brands, such as the American Lie Nielsen.
In 2009, Gianni Cantarutti developes the brand Slow Wood, which promotes slow-growing wood with the Culturalegno Association, later licensing the brand in 2014 to the Slow Wood company, which operated for 5 years in the furniture and flooring industry in the promotion of 100% Italian products and businesses.
Again in 2014, Gianni achieved his dream of founding a Xylotheque,home to a collection of over 1000 wood species currently used throughout the world by industries and small businesses.
The Xylotheque is founded on the desire to share a great passion and this makes it a continuously evolving project involving various initiatives, such as courses on the identification of wood species and in woodwork, events to promote wood culture and publications: 1000 Legni (1000 Woods) in 2008, TOP LÈN (TOP WOODS) I in 2018 and the second edition in 2019.
Sharing a wealth of knowledge
Over the years, Gianni Cantarutti’s work has focused mainly on consultancy and collaboration with designers and architects of great prestige who want to use wood to give their creations a unique spirit. For these artists, Gianni even searches for little-known and ancient wood species from Europe, the Amazonian Rainforest, Africa, South East Asia and Oceania, testing their quality according to the needs of the client and with particular sensitivity towards forest sustainability and protection.
What makes him so special?
Certainly his vast experience, but above all his capacity to reproduce in the manufactured product the true soul of every single quality of wood.