Ri-legno: Doctors Who Treat Wood
The magical year of Ri-legno, a startup founded within Progetto Manifattura

“Sometimes, when you cannot find work, you must create it. Or, rather, you must “tailor” it, intertwining skills and personal interests”. This is the philosophy of Lavinia Sartori, a former employee of a construction company and, today, a successful entrepreneur who in her Ri-Legno employs 12 people and is preparing to fulfill orders totaling 2.5 million Euro in 2018.

From an unfavorable economic outlook to the foundation of a startup

It was 2014 when, as a result of the economic crisis, Lavinia Sartori lost her job and, thanks to her great resourcefulness and the help of provincial grants set aside for young and female entrepreneurship, decided to start her own company with business partner Giulio Franceschini. The startup, called Ri-Legno and established within Progetto Manifattura, the Trentino Sviluppo incubator for clean energy and sustainable building construction, offered inspection and rehabilitation services for existing wooden structures.

“This way - Franceschini explains - we can save land and materials, and, at the same time, beautify the landscape around us”. As a matter of fact, reclamation work carried out by the startup mainly concerns inhabited spaces, and, in particular, playgrounds for children or bridges over waterways in city parks.

Restoration of existing structures, but also production of unique items in the new cutting center in Cavedine

A perfect paradigm of the breeding ground of ideas embodied by Progetto Manifattura, Ri-Legno brings together engineering and creativity. This formula has allowed the company to grow, tripling its turnover - from 90 thousand Euro in February 2014 to 1.5 million Euro in 2017 - and giving work to 14, including 2 shareholders and 12 employees.

In March 2017, alongside the now consolidated core business focusing on the restoration of existing structures, the company also decided to start its own construction line and a furniture collection made from wood processing waste, purchasing for this purpose the cutting center of Cavedine, and thus helping to save the jobs of the center’s six specialized workers.

Double spaces for a business that grows under the banner of sustainability and beauty

At the end of 2017, increased turnover led to the need to expand the office space: hence, the decision to move to a new location; no more 100, but 170 square meters, inside the Edificio dell’Orologio (clock building), in Progetto Manifattura. In the new spaces, Lavinia Sartori stresses, there will always be a free desk ready to welcome in-training undergraduates and doctoral students and give life to new projects and artistic installations, such as the one started with D3wood and Marco Imperadori, Professor at the Milan Polytechnic, to build and bring to Arte Sella (the open-air art exhibition in Valsugana) a work designed by Japanese superstar Kengo Kuma.

“This is a reinterpretation of a traditional Japanese game based on an interlocking system” says Emanuele Montibeller, Artistic Director of Arte Sella. An installation with a Japanese heart and a Trentino backbone, “a bridge - the Ri-Legno team explains - that unites two continents, but also different trades and historical periods, giving us back the sense of belonging to the territory through a material that is at once fragile and eternal”.