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The 800-Year-Old Kitchen

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In the heart of Tuscany, the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Toncelli has been innovating kitchens through a mixture of tradition and technology since the ’60s.

The company has long been fascinated with raw materials, notably wood, and has researched new materials and new uses with an eye toward creating products with character. In 1991, the company introduced its credenza made with a cherry wood finish and had, for the first time, gas pistons in a kitchen.

This year Toncelli was looking for a fossil wood that was hard as stone, but one that could also be worked by hand or with the same machineries traditionally used for wood. It came down to 800-year-old beechwood from Serbia, whose well-seasoned personality resists water absorption and abrasion.

From 1216 to 2016, fossil wood, used for Toncelli’s line Essence, is still looking pretty good. During time eliminating porosity, the natural oils are applied and a crystallization process takes place to foster the wood’s resistant shell. While the fossil beechwood makes up the majority of the kitchen, titanium steel is used for the cooking surface.

Toncelli to ArchiExpo: The process starts by transforming the bole [the tree trunk] into timber. The handles of Essence are obtained individually from the timber, with the same process used by a sculptor working a block of stone. The handles are thus obtained using the same tools dedicated to solid wood. The shutter, which will welcome the handle, is performed starting from a hard board.

The combination between the handle and the shutter is bordered with a wood strip of 3 mm, which isolates the shutter from the humidity. The shutter is then veneered by fossil wood, cut with the same machineries used again for solid wood. Only once the veneering is put on is fossil wood treated with oils. Fossil wood has been certified by the Department of Earth Sciences at La Sapienza University in Rome.

The 800-Year-Old Kitchen

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