Vaia is a start-up which produces sound boxes made of larch and spruce wood. Forbes named its founders among the 100 most influential people in the sector of social enterprises. One of them, the Sicilian Giuseppe Addamo, told us all about how this project came to be

In October 2018 a hurricane took down 42 million trees in the Triveneto area of Northern Italy, greatly upsetting the environmental balance. However, two years later the same territory has experienced a surprising rebirth. A memory from his past, an amplifier made of walnut and acacia wood donated by his grandfather, inspired Federico Stefani, a young man raised in that same area, to breathe new life into the fallen trees. An idea which he shared with his friends Paolo Milan, a Venetian fellow student at the University of Ferrara, and Giuseppe Addamo, born in Catania, who Stefani met at Fe­sti­val di im­pre­sa (enterprise festival) in Vicenza. In September of 2019, a year after, the three young men founded Vaia.

 “The amplification produced by our Vaia Cube is totally natural. Its handcrafted uniqueness contrasts with an ordinary industrial product and gives it a soul”

THE CUBE. Thus, was born the Vaia Cube, a sound box made of larch and spruce wood from the fallen trees. “The spruce wood ‒ says Addamo ‒ is the same used by Stradivari in the XIX century to make his string instruments. The resonance property of this wood characterizes a natural, warm and deep propagation of sound”. The cube made of spruce wood with its cone in larch works without electricity: “The amplification ‒ he continues ‒ is totally natural. Once the music starts from the cell phone speakers, the conformation and the characteristic of the wood allow a propagation of the amplified sound”. Every Vaia cube is made unique by an incision, an axe stroke, thay follows the wood grain and symbolizes the pain the forest endured: “a cut, that gives our sound boxes a soul, in a way ‒ told Giuseppe ‒ and differentiates them from ordinary industrial products”.

CIRCULAR ECONOMY. A sustainable business model that manages to show love for the territory and provide economic value: “We wanted to be part of the circular economy and to be totally sustainable. We decided to start planting a tree for each cube sold”. An example of enterprise with a positive impact on the environment which led Federico, Paolo e Giuseppe to be named by For­bes as one of the current “100 Future Leaders” in the sector of social enterprises. “An unexpected nomination ‒ says Giuseppe ‒ because we didn’t even know that Forbes knew us. It’s not something that happens every day that filled us with pride and emotion. This also meant feeling the responsibility of managing the company well, even more profoundly than before”. Their will to put effort and improve more and more is fueled by the positive responses from many who believe in the project and its message of rebirth. A synergy between young people and nature that in recent times has given voice to the awareness of environmental issue, that pushes us to reflect on the impact that human had and continues to have on the environment with unbridled consumption. This leads us to rediscover our connection with nature. “Galileo ‒ concludes Giuseppe – once famously said: You can’t pick a flower without troubling a star. It’s something I firmly believe in: we are all living beings of one great planet. So, treating it well means to treat ourselves well too”.