Teukho: Design Carved In Time
Meet Teukho, third-generation woodworkers known for crafting contemporary creations out of millennia-old fossilized oak wood. Discover the mystic beauty of this ancient material, reinvented in multiple forms thanks to the Garzitto family's exquisite taste in modern design.
Capturing glimpses from long-gone eras and turning them into art, Teukho are modern bearers of history, showcasing the primordial beauty of fossil oak wood in all of their creations. The name comes from the ancient Greek word “Teúkhō” meaning “to create artfully”.
The Garzitto family, firmly rooted as third-generation woodworkers in the land of Friuli Venezia Giulia, has become a visionary leader in working with fossilized wood, a unique material rich in millenary history. The combination of this quintessential element with a contemporary design sensibility speaks to the artistry behind Teukho's masterful works, shaped by the forms of nature.
Meet the artisans behind the brand, in an insightful interview covering Teukho's origins, woodworking, the nature of fossil wood, and the importance of sustainability.
The wood we use comes from trees that have fallen due to natural causes and have been buried by sediments, thus deprived of oxygen. This allows the wood to be preserved for thousands of years.
Born out of the Garzitto family's creativity, Teukho tells the story of fossilized wood, celebrating the love for this primordial element and the region of Friuli. How did your brand come to life?
Entrepreneurial spirit is in our DNA. In 1960, our father and our uncle started a sawmill business producing semi-finished products for the emerging chair and furniture industry in Friuli, quickly becoming one of the most important players in the sector. From an early age, we grew up hearing about wood and had the chance to see firsthand the various production stages of semi-finished products: this instilled in us a natural love for wood, an essence that conveys warmth and has always been part of human life.
On our travels in search of new supply sources, we were lucky enough to come across these fossilized trunks which immediately piqued our curiosity.
At first, we looked for customers for semi-finished products made from this wood, then we wondered: "As we are the ones who seek out these trunks, why not create our own products, made without cutting down trees, and showcase the charm of this millenary wood?". That's how Teukho was born. Even the name of the brand denotes its intrinsic nature: it derives from the Ancient Greek meaning “to make, create, to create artfully”. The name speaks volumes of the love and passion for our craft.
The Fossil Wood
Fossil oak wood is a rare material only found on particular river sites. This stunning piece of nature has been preserved for thousands of years, and can be found in soils that are mostly wet and clayey, an ideal habitat for the fossil oak to be preserved thanks to their extreme fertility as they lie above groundwater. The process starts when tree branches swept away by the wind are captured in the river's winding course. Sediments such as sand and gravel attach to the trunk and start the process of fossilization, lasting a thousand years due to oxygen deprivation.
These found materials are given new life by Teukho, with sustainability as the starting point of their production. Working with fossilized wood, not one single tree is cut down, and the wood itself is embellished by unique textures and nuances that no industrial production methods could achieve. The result is no longer regular wood, not yet a fossil stone, but an extremely sturdy and durable material to be carved by expert hands.
The rich history and heritage of fossilized wood is key in your creations, a union of modern elements and a shape sculpted by time that reveals stories of bygone eras. What is the working process of this type of wood?
We select the logs directly at the source and oversee all the processing stages: from cutting, seasoning and drying, all the way to the finished piece of furniture. I don't think there are many companies that have such control over all these stages right from the very start. Oftentimes a new product is born just by looking at the trunk; one can say that we draw out the piece that inherently exists in the material. The most noteworthy planks revealed after the cutting process are immediately numbered and selected for production, so that each table is made using sections from a single trunk.
During the subsequent processing, a wood sample is sent to specialized institutes for radiocarbon dating, as is customary for fossils. In doing so, we can associate each piece with a certificate attesting to the exact time when the tree fell and died. It is always a thrill to receive these certificates, knowing that we work with trees that lived even more than 6,000 years ago. As for our furniture, we personally select the planks to ensure the right combination of colors. Most parts are made of solid wood, in cases when that is not possible we use thick slats. A sharp eye immediately notices the differences with other comparable products, giving us an added value. We want to give our customers singular products with a modern design where wood reigns supreme, showing all the color shades bestowed by the passage of time.
The Lambda lamp by Luca Degano is the perfect union between the warmth of light and of wood. How did this design come about?
First and foremost, it is worth noting that the Lambda lamp was among the Top 10 finalists at the 2020 Darc Awards competition, and this makes us very proud since we were competing with world-renowned companies. The idea is based on one of the values that characterize all of Teukho's products: time. Time is the key feature of fossilized oak, what enhances it and allows us to appreciate all its qualities, both visual and tactile. Conceived and created in collaboration with designer Luca Degano, the lamp draws its name from the Greek letter “λ”, still used today to denote wavelengths.
Lambda, with the light embedded within its core, represents a design of incomparable ancestral beauty, effortlessly following the natural shape of the sinusoidal undulations made by wavelengths. Contemporary in design, each piece is entirely unique, hand-finished using the highest standards of traditional techniques and incorporating the latest LED technology.
The finished piece radiates a warm yet mysterious glow that fills the entire living space, perfectly reflecting the timeless nature of the fossilized oak. Without damaging existing forests and boasting a production with near-zero environmental impact, Lambda tells a fascinating story for those who seek out sustainable luxury.
What role does sustainability play in your creations, and what do you expect the trajectory towards an increasingly “green” woodworking production to be?
As previously mentioned, the wood we use comes from trees that have fallen due to natural causes and have been buried by sediments, thus deprived of oxygen. This allowed the wood to be preserved for thousands of years and to absorb the minerals in the soil, causing its colors to change. Even the finishes we use are as environmentally friendly as possible.
We use multilayer or laminated wood panels in compliance with CARB2 regulations only for those parts where there are no alternatives. Even though more expensive than other panels, they’re an additional quality guarantee for the customer due to their greater stability and resistance. At any rate, all our products are predominantly made without cutting down any living trees.
Fortunately, nowadays more and more attention is paid to sustainability: deforestation remains unregulated only in a few places worldwide, in turn reducing the environmental impact. Furthermore, the various chemicals used in processing are also increasingly produced with the environment in mind.
Today CNC machines are an integral part of your work. However, many steps in your creative process require a craftsman's touch. What are these moments and why is the handcrafted component important?
Nowadays, Computer Numerical Control machines are undoubtedly indispensable in any production; however, some parts of the work call for an artisan’s expert touch. For the Trigono sideboard, the preparation of the triangles for the doors requires careful work in composing colors, intersecting veining, and preparing all assembly joints. This could not be accomplished without the help of expert craftsmen.
Lambda Black Fossil Wood Table LampUSD 1,425
Selene Fossil Oak CabinetUSD 43,890
KORMÓS 202 Fossil Oak BenchUSD 11,615
Bottle and Glasses Serving TrayUSD 1,255
Lambda Light Fossil Wood Table LampUSD 1,425
Trìgono 240 Dark Fossil Oak SideboardUSD 23,930
Parmenide Fossil Oak Dining TableUSD 42,490
Lakane Fossil Oak CenterpieceUSD 1,820
Fossil Wood Cutting Board #4USD 330
6-Pieces Fossil Wood Party TraysUSD 660
Fossil Wood Cutting Board #5USD 270
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