Art Underfoot

By , September 8, 2009

I am interested in products that are created using new technologies but that still have strong ties to the traditional origins of the craft. I love it when the product has a contemporary edge, yet still retains the warmth and refined sensibility of the classics. Looking at the latest Italian Architectural Digest, I noticed an unusual hardwood floor inlaid with marble.  Although this idea isn’t new, the design and execution was light years ahead of anything I had seen.  Take a look below at one of the wonderful patterns.


Wouldn’t this make for a dramatic foyer and hallway floor? Imagine it in a library or dining room!  I envision it in a room with all white walls, furniture and fabrics – the WOW factor would be huge!

The artisans that made this floor are based in Tuscany and have been making beautiful floors for 3 generations. Many of their designs are made with retrieved wood found in older, elegant chateaus and villas. This wood has been salvaged by small, local companies who deal directly with the end provider. This sensitivity to reuse and local purchase results in fewer cut trees, trips to the saw mill, and shipping and transportation needs. By minimizing the many steps it would take to create a single new board, I Vassaletti reduces their carbon footprint and allows  the forests to continue to grow.  The retrieved wood also takes the finishes differently, which helps create a rich and mellowed patina.

You can visit their website to view their wonderful work. I Vassalletti provides solid boards prefinished with proprietary formulas comprised of hand made custom waxes, unique pigments, and their own special oils. They also make engineered floors. Look at this finish:


And this one:


Both of these look like beautiful raw natural white oak but there is a finish on the oak that will keep it looking this way for a long time.  Most finishes will yellow with time or turn a white oak in to the dreaded “Golden Oak” that dominated ‘80’s construction. These finishes will keep the very chic, contemporary look  that clients love.  Many times in the past, when a client sees their beautiful new white oak raw floor installed, they say “I want it to look just like that!”  Until now, I’ve had to tell them that it was not possible to keep that look once the floor was finished. 

The master craftsmen at this firm are capable of very impressive marquetry (inlayed wood) as well.  Here is a remarkable inlay design they did:


While this is all a very traditional concept, the finish gives it an effective modern look as well. Here is another one of their awesome designs:


All of the floors are hand made, hand assembled, and naturally finished. The overall look will be a one of a kind piece of art with a phenomenal design, finish, and quality that lasts a lifetime.

Bon Giorno!


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2 Responses to “Art Underfoot”

  1. Thank you so much Nicolette for your comment. Aren’t the designs just wonderful? It takes true craftsmen to create something so beautiful.

  2. Very creative flooring, and thanks for sharing this. I think a lot of people in the interior design community forget the importance of flooring, especially considering everything that we do is featured on top of it.

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