Back to the Roots

Milano Design week


Matteo Cainer was invited to moderate the discussion 'Back to the Roots' during the 2023 Salone del Mobile in Milano Italy, by M13 Studio the collective cultural project WOODCONNECTION for TDW – Tegernseer Dielenwerk.

The talk featured the participation of various international architects who explored new lines of thinking, innovation, and research related to ecological and resilient building solutions.

The architects who participated in the talk were Joaquin Vaquero Ibanez, India Foster, Luca Alessandro Amendola, Julian Von Der Schulenburg, Christopher G. Ward, and Matteo Cainer. The open question explored during the talk aimed to inspire and challenge designers to focus on how nature can be at the core and 'root' of each practice.

During the talk, each architect shared their perspective on the challenges we face today and how wood, as a renewable resource, can play a crucial role in creating a sustainable and resilient future. The architects explored various aspects of wood, including its versatility, timelessness, and beauty. They also highlighted the value of wood products and the importance of integrating culture, nature, and its elements into their vision for the future.


Joaquin Vaquero Ibanez- CLK Architects (Madrid, Spain)
“Wood must open a new understanding about how we must face the challenge of production.”

India Foster – Shizen Studio (Palm Beach, United States) 
“If you work slowly, a story reveals itself. In the burls, patterns and scars, there are memories. Each design is a contemplation of the past and an expression of the present.”

Luca Alessandro Amendola – SGS Architetti Associati (Milano, Italy) 
“Wood is beauty, it is versatility, it is the timeless connection between our past and the next generation.”

Julian Von Der Schulenburg – (New York, USA & Berlin, Germany) 
“Engineered wood products are the materials of the future. Applied in various ways, as finish or load-bearing timber, wood is a renewable resource and a powerful alternative to CO2-heavy concrete. It is an ancient building material, familiar to humans throughout history while today’s processing methods optimized capabilities. Visually exposed, wood grain patterns carry an unparalleled poetic value when built-in space and light.”

Christopher G. Ward – Christopher Ward Studio (Reggio Emilia, Italy) 
"With wood it all began. Adam and Eve and the apple tree. We can even think that our whole existence was supported and accompanied by wood. Its fragrance, its structure, its versatility are qualities with which we come into contact every day. We started with wood, we should try to return to the wood”

Matteo Cainer – Matteo Cainer Architecture (London UK, Milano Italy) 
“Our vision for the future is one that grows, nurtures and encompasses culture, nature and its elements.”

Overall, the day dedicated to WE DISCUSS was a resounding success, and tdwwoodconnection was a standout feature of the events. Those who were able to experience the installation and the discussions that took place around it will undoubtedly come away with a new appreciation for the role of design in shaping our world.

download an edited version of talk


M13 Studio -Is a fluid creative studio based between Milano- Ortigia led by Sara Felice M 

TDW - Tegernseer Dielenwerk - relaunched in 2021 by new owner Nico Osenstaetter wanted to create ‘a monolith with a social core’. The futuristic amphitheatre-style structure was designed by architect Christopher G. Ward and preconstructed at TDW’s cutting-edge production facility with a remarkable size of 3500mq in Bavaria, Germany. The wood on the exterior walls was flamed to create a rich charcoal texture that encouraged people to touch the wood, be curious, and enter the space through the angled doorways. In the interior, an airy space was surrounded by stepped walls that encouraged people to find new perspectives.