Luxury Wood Italy produces wood floors and coverings boasting surprising physical and mechanical characteristics. One hundred per cent Italian made, technologically-advanced and completely unique in the market
by Luca Sordelli – photo by Andrea Muscatello
TWO YEARS AGO, WHEN I INTERVIEWED THEM FOR THE FIRST TIME, IT WAS SOMETHING NEW. They were still at the launch stage, busy getting themselves known and spreading the news of their “invention”. Now they are an established organisation.
They are Massimo Bottoni and Gabriele Guerinoni, the managing director and sales director respectively of Luxury Wood Italy. They have rapidly won the confidence of a large number of shipyards (Fairline, Azimut, Baglietto, CCN, Dominator, Gulf Craft and Overmarine, just to name a few).
How have they managed to do that? It was simple – their invention works very well. It is a kind of completely new wood flooring, made up of two elements: on top there is wood, with five interwoven thin strips. While below there is a soft part, a cushion made from a mixture of microperforated rubber and cork that has been especially made for LWI by a German producer that also makes the surfaces for athletics tracks.
The reason that boatyards like this new product so much is first and foremost because of how supple it is to use, and its physical and mechanical properties, that deserve being seen close up. What stands out is its flexibility, the way it can be twisted across all axes.
One of the main problems in marine installations is a large number of steps, bevelled edges and irregularities you have to deal with. A material that is so easy to shape like this makes everything easier. It means making things easier for the people who have to install it, thanks to the use of cement-based glues, but also allow designers to come up with solutions that until now had been unthinkable. And you can actually use it both as flooring or any other kind of panelling on board.
But the quality of this wood flooring can also be seen from the figures. Starting from the fact that the final thicknesses are 6, 10 and 14 millimetres (the cushion can be 2, 6 or 10 millimetres thick, while the strip of wood is four millimetres) its characteristics mean that there is a significant increase in acoustic insulation: compared with a traditional parquet there is a “saving” of up to 19 decibels for flooring that is 10 mm thick, and you get to 25 decibels less for a 14 mm thickness.
Amongst the features are the notable level of thermal transmittance, and with that the figure is of around a 70% increase, which is all to the benefit of installations using heated floors, which are increasingly used in the yachting world. Still talking about figures, a point worth stressing is that 70% of the cork used for the cushion is recycled and this, together with the use of formaldehyde-free glue, reflects LWI’s concern for the environment.
Another quality that makes it unique and perfect for installation on board boats and yachts is its resistance both to water and to wear and tear. This is because of the double coating; the use of crossed fibres and the way very high pressure is used to fuse all its elements. All this despite being decidedly lighter than traditional decking.
Then there are features of this wood flooring that are difficult to summarise in figures. Especially how soft it is to walk on. It is wood, so feels lovely to walk on barefoot, but it is also something of a carpet, which gives slightly under your bodyweight. That is a unique characteristic of LWI, which has been very much appreciated by both owners and boatyards. The LWI product also allows an infinite variety of choices of types of materials, colourations and decorations.
Visiting their locations in Val di Chiana, in Tuscany, between Lucignano and Sinalunga, or by just looking through their catalogues, you will be astonished by the infinite number of customizations, colours and finishes that you can choose from.
(Luxury Wood Italy, the magic of wood – Barchemagazine.com – November 2019)