Solid Wood as a Solution: Interview With Sintala Design
Forests are the lungs of our planet. The statistics show gradual deforestation in all countries. According to the FAO report the world’s forest area decreased from 31.6% of the global land area to 30.6% between 1990 and 2015. But it is also clear that logging have been handled in a more sustainable way as more companies – like Sintala Design – and NGOs collaborate to stop illegal deforestation and to tackle the issue by planting new trees. However, are there any sustainable solutions? Yes, and of them is called timber recycling. It allows for recovering vast expanses of woodlands by decreasing wood consumption. Waste timber might be turned into products used in construction or decorating households.
Today we are glad to greet our guest José Luis Aranda, president and co-founder of Sintala design, company specialized in creating products made of solid wood, and discuss perspectives of timber recycling.
Could you introduce yourself to our readers and tell the story of your company? What was the driving force that led you to start the business?
José Luis Aranda: Since I was a child, I’ve been concerned about environmental issues. In Segovia, my City I was considered as one of the pioneers for raising awareness about recycling movements. I always tried to convert my choices in life to be sustainable and ethical: wood was always a hard topic for me when it comes to sustainability.
Everything started 30 years ago with “the grafiosis´´ (a disease which attacks elms trees). I started developing a technique to reuse this wood and transform it into furniture.
The beginning of the Company was dedicated to RI+D for developing a working method which allows us to use wood residues. We have been able to use branches of 7cm of diameter.
Can you please explain what kind of activities is Sintala Design engaged in?
JLA: Sintala Design are creating beautiful products made from 100% solid wood, but here’s the catch: all of the wood is only taken from fallen trees, prunings or anything left over from other manufacturing processes. The firm designs and manufactures pieces of furniture, wall panels, floorings…Also, we are involved in the bio-construction field. Our goal is to build the healthiest houses from sustainable wood.
Sintala Design is in charge of collecting, manage and store its own raw material. The fall of different species of trees, the collect of urban and forestry prunings and the reuse of manufacturing residues, give us cyclically thirty different timber varieties. Each one has its own story to tell. Our passion is to find BEAUTY where apparently there are garbage and wastes. Our challenge is to create products fusing design and nature. We make items covering necessities, reintroducing the wood in the loop again. We contribute to reduce wastes, following the concept of CIRCULAR ECONOMY. The argument is that circular business models can be as profitable as linear models and allow consumers to keep enjoying similar products and services.
Our philosophy is about producing solid wood products while we respect the environment and help Ecosystem with self-regeneration through small actions.
We are engaged to share this discovery with the society and are receiving around one thousand of children in our industrial installations in the next 6 months to raise awareness about respectful of the environment.
How can you describe the company’s strategy?
JLA: We are planning to replicate our model in Castellón (Spain) and Padova (Italy) with the idea of reuse agricultural residues (prunings) from the citrus sector. We would like to manage these abundant resources from those areas. This is very interesting in Mediterranean areas to fight against climate change, deforestation and desertification that are taking place (This project is still pending approval)
To fight against rural depopulation, which already is another serious problem in the upcoming years, we want to keep encouraging rural employment in the area where we manage the wood.
What makes you proud of your products?
JLA: All our products are 100% sustainable. Sintala Design is the first firm which has the hallmark “Fair Wood” in all of its products. Every piece of furniture will have this tag that certifies the legality of the wood´s origin and respect for the principles of Fair Trade. The finishing in all our products is 100% natural and toxic-free, using dyes with ecological certificate such as different natural oils.
The result of all our work allows us to tell unique stories. Thanks to the features of our materials, all the pieces we make are different and unique because of its natural grain, mixing the artisan concept with the industrial one.
The origin, features and state of each tree give singularity to its transformation and build a clear example of a circular economy and bio-mimetic.
So you could have in your living room a piece of furniture which has its own and unique story, made of prunings from Olive fields or from a fallen tree due to a storm.
How many customers did you manage to attract? How would evaluate the overall progress for the last couple of years?
JLA: On the last few years, we have gone from a local customer to an international one. The company has a broad international customer base, and an example is our presence at different fairs in Europe. We have exhibited at Biofach in Nurnberg and IMM Cologne on this 2019. Our type of customer has a certain commitment to the environment and show awareness about sustainability, also, people interested in design and solid wood furniture made of the most exclusive kinds of wood. Without forgetting Interior Designers, landscape architects, and Universities attracted by our values. There are a growing number of Companies who come to Sintala Design seeking collaboration in their ongoing projects, aiming to become greener.
What kind of impact do you think you can have on the environment?
JLA: As a society, we have a challenge: A Company has to provide a service for people, but it does not need to go into conflict with the environment. It should be guaranteeing the future for everyone on the planet. Due to our growth model, The Earth loses 18.7 million acres of forests per year, which is equal to 27 soccer fields every minute, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Our philosophy is about producing solid wood products whilst respecting the environment and helping the ecosystem with self-regeneration through small actions.
We help to preserve the forest mass, trying to maximize the sustainable use and to minimize the waste of the used wood. Carbon-dioxide emission and all issues associated with so-called global warming are becoming to us more and more like an ideology, and in the commitment to the Ozone Layer, Sintala Design doesn´t add any chemical product in its manufacturing processes. Otherwise, the use of natural products such as oil-finished makes our products special in terms of quality and consumer health guarantees.
What are your thoughts on climate change?
JLA: Climate change is here to stay for long, and now all efforts double up because the Society arrives late to face the problem. Surely we should be asking ourselves what type of growth we want today in order to slow down climate change. We have now to bring the environment and climate change center-stage. Everyone should be concerned about climate change and treat to act for yourself without passing the ball. It is a question to solve from the society to the governments.
In the cover picture: A lumberyard with logs and planks stacked. Photo Credits: Sintala Design.