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Alberti, The Wizard Of Wood

The exceptionally talented carpenter Roger Alberti explains why larch wood from Cortina is the best and why it's a good idea to build with wood in the mountains.

Roger Alberti likes wood. A lot. Why is it his favourite material? "Because I know all about it," Roger laughs. Within a few minutes, there is not an inkling of doubt about that. He knows we are here to talk woodshop and it seems like he is quite keen to begin the interview. Right next to the main building of Bariza Woodworking, the third-generation family business run by Roger Alberti, old wood is stored in a small open shed.  Roger tells us about it: "This used to be the floor of an old farmhouse in Cortina, which was recently demolished. This kind of wood is a rare find. Sometimes we drive all the way to Croatia or Slovenia to get wood from old houses. Floorboards are always made of larch, by the way; it's darker and more resilient. That's why it's also great for facades." While we take a closer look at the wood, Roger is already heading back to the workshop.

When we ask to sit down for the interview, the gifted carpenter sets up a few chairs – but won't sit down for even a minute. Instead, he fetches a few boards of three different types of wood; at least that's what we think at first. It turns out that all three samples are the same wood, the floorboards of an old stable, which were cut into slimmer boards. "If you take a look at the cross section of the original floorboard, you can see how it gets darker the closer it was to the animals. The coloration comes from the warmth the livestock exuded", Roger Alberti explains. He also remembers to add something about larch wood: "Larch wood from Cortina is up to five times as durable because of the altitude and climate here."

For almost a century Bariza Woodworking has been crafting just about anything that can be made from wood: furniture, flooring, kitchens, and even entire houses. Roger took over the business from his father in 1999. "It was sort of clear all along," Roger tells us. He never aspired to be something else, maybe because the thought simply never crossed his mind. Also, he has a special touch for wood and loves its versatility.

It is not surprising that Roger believes everybody should build with wood. His arguments are also quite convincing: Wood is a naturally regenerative resource and a highly pleasant, warm material. It also boasts an excellent insulation value. "Wood is a particularly good choice for houses in the mountains, where temperatures can drop very low." Sustainability is key at Bariza Woodworking – not a single scrap goes to waste: Offcuts are used to make cutting boards with mosaic patterns, shavings help start the furnace, and sawdust is collected and pressed to pellets in the cellar.

Roger Alberti's customers are guaranteed to receive a high quality wood product that is truly unique. We can see a few templates for chairs, benches, and beds, but they only serve as starting points for the design process. "Of course I suggest ideas that I personally like, but ultimately it's the customer's choice," Roger explains. It all starts with the form, then the type of wood, and finally the colour, which, as we have learned, depends on numerous factors. "You can pick whatever you like here," the wood wizard explains and adds with a grin, "most of the time, they'll listen to me anyway!" What is currently on trend? "Old wood with straight lines and very few embellishments as well as clear-cut interiors are fashionable right now. Unfinished wood is also popular," Roger says. "Personally I'd only choose that if I didn't have to clean it myself, though,", he adds as the charming grin once again spreads on his face.

Text: Matthias Köb //
Photos: Florian Lechner //

Sept. 3, 2017

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