The violent storm which struck the city of Udine on the evening of 30 August brought down over 120 trees across the municipal area. This included one of the great plane trees in Piazza Primo Maggio.
We went there on 29 October to recover this natural giant, and early work revealed some interesting information about the history of its setting, such as the ceramic electrical cable insulators from the late 1800s/early 1900s embedded within its trunk.
The plane tree then began its journey, before being delivered to one of the few remaining sawmills that handles timber of this size. The first cuts made were discs, to allow Andrea Maroè of the Giant Trees Foundation to study its history, disease and the fallen tree itself in depth. One of our biggest fears was that the tree would be completely rotten inside, but we were in for another surprise: the trunk was in good health, and fortunately the disease which had weakened the tree enough to cause its fall had only attacked the root system.
The urban tree witness to centuries of Udine history
This Udine giant with its snakeskin-like wood texture will now undergo a seasoning process, stacked on spaced boards to allow the moisture to evaporate. In the spring it will be checked, and if it has reached the correct parameters, it will be possible to proceed with artificial drying in special kilns.
We can’t wait to show you the boards which will be created from this urban tree, witness to centuries of Udine history. Thanks to the efforts of the Giant Trees Foundation we have explored an issue which is very important to us: sustainability. Our work is also sustainable from a chemical point of view: burning the wood releases all of its carbon dioxide through combustion, whereas transforming it into design tables locks that carbon in forever, preventing the work of these centuries-old trees from being undone.