This week we head to Italy, a land famed for its leather, to discover a wood-based, sustainable material that is just as flexible and water-resistant as its animal counterpart, but which also can claim to be fully recyclable, renewable and biodegradable. Created using a combination of wood, cotton and environmentally friendly glue, Ligneah is a truly sustainable product that has found its natural home in the worlds of packaging, fashion, footwear and interior furnishings.
The versatility provided by the manufacturing process means that the number of options, when it comes to choosing a variation of Ligneah, are almost endless. 10 different types of wood are available – birch, bolivar, ash, walnut, European cherry, evaporated beech, elm, American maple, European Frisè maple and durmast – each offering subtle colour differences. Sheets of the chosen wood are bonded with cotton or other natural forms of backing, before being finished with a water-repellent and stain-repellent coating. Diagonal and linear micro-incisions are then made in the wood panels, with the combination of incisions (measured from T1 to T5) providing varying levels of flexibility and suppleness according to the final application. T1, for example, results in soft yet solid panels which can be utilised for accessories and giftware, while T3 produces considerably more flexible components for covering material and footwear.
The customisability of Ligneah doesn’t end there, however. While the material tends to respond best to water-based silkscreen printing, it is compatible with all printing processes available to paper products. Its properties lend it to projects of a playful, tactile nature that retain a focus on sustainability and/or the unexpected. FSC-certified, Ligneah also has a Tree Nation agreement that ensures one tree is planted in Niger for every product sold.