Recovering from addiction is a long and rocky road where health and confidence must be rebuilt, piece by piece. San Patrignano, one of Europe's largest drug rehabilitation centers, understands that a key factor to becoming whole once more is to feel needed, appreciated, and skilled. Through their program, Barrique, young people who have suffered under the tyranny of chemicals are able to reclaim their lives by using salvaged wood to create furniture from old wooden wine casks. Over the 30 years it has been in operation, Barrique has also developed a wine industry, producing 600,000 bottles in addition to their wood workshop training participants in artisanal craft. Partnering with top designers who imagine the appointments, Barrique assists young people in their journey toward learning a valuable trade.
Each of Barrique’s pieces, from Angela Missoni’s Swing Chair to the gorgeous Letizia Cradle shown above, is made from wood sourced from a 230 liter cask made from French Oak. After the barrels have been used for a maximum of five years to age wine, they are sent to the workshop to be turned into over 34 different works. The character of the hands working on every table and chair as well as the individuality of the wood gives every piece a distinctive personality, far from the monotony of prefabricated, flat-packed furniture. Sold through the San Patrignano network, Barrique directly benefits young people struggling with addiction.
The Barrique page offers a background for each piece, including preliminary sketches and a description by the designer explaining their inspirations and methods. Many of the architects drop into the workshop to meet the people bringing their drawings to life. Using reclaimed wood is certainly an enlightened way to upcycle a material that would normally be destroyed after a limited life span. It is also a potent symbol for the young people emerging from addiction, that everyone and everything deserves a second chance.
The catalog is available for download, and purchases may be made through the Barrique website.