Luxury & Fashion

Mar 1, 2017

CRYPTOMY - MALEABLE, LIGHT AND AROMATIC

From the Prime Minister of Bermuda to the president of IBM Portugal, were some of the personalities who ordered a suitcase at least innovative and unusual, to offer the wife and/or friends. It is a suitcase made of cryptomeria wood. The idea was so appreciated that there are already orders from other world personalities.

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No, this is not a new civilisation, but a wood with pineapple fibre leather, from which the architect and entrepreneur of the Azores archipelago, in Portugal, Sónia Pereira, decided to create an original feminine accessory to be used in a social event - nowhere better than a "soft", lightweight suitcase that incorporates the scent of wood.

According to the creator, the cryptomeria «is a totally natural product, environmentally friendly and with local raw materials, which show the richness and beauty of the Island».

After studying, the architect concluded that the archipelago of the Azores is very rich in this raw material, because the area of ​​Azorean forest has 12,698 hectares of forests (Cryptomeria japonica D. Don) and about 4,500 hectares are under the management of the Regional Government. Of these, 2,119 hectares are on the island of São Miguel, the capital.

The Cryptomeria is also widely planted in Japan, China, United Kingdom, in the Europe coastal areas, in the West Coast of North America, Nepal and India.

Known as sugi, in Japanese, it is the national tree of Japan, being common to plant it around temples and sanctuaries. As a matter of curiosity, it is reported that a feudal lord of ancient Japan, not well-off, not being able to offer a stone lantern for the funeral of the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616) in Nikkō Tōshō-gū, Japan, suggested planting a sugi mall, for the protection of future visitors from the heat and sun. The mall, over 65 km in length, still exists.

«I realised that there is a great potential in this raw material», explained Sónia Pereira, adding that «the idea of ​​women's bags arose from the need to create something personal and innovative, and classy, ​​to use in a restricted social event».

The architect is responsible for the creative process and cutting of the raw material, as well as the final coating of the product manually produced on the island of the Azores. Already the base of the suitcase is made in the northern region of Portugal. To reach the final product, laser and 3D machines of last generation are used, and a part of the cryptomeria that isn´t valued is also used, that is, the first exterior layers of the trees.

After gathering all the conditions to produce the suitcases, especially financial ones, having used community funds to acquire equipment, and having installed in the technology park of São Miguel island, in the city of Lagoa, Sónia began to give life to bags prototypes.

Now, the businesswoman is finalising the first collection, which will be presented to the public this year. «In this first collection, we are working on the theme "Roots", which resulted from the book written by Dr. Augusto Athayde, which tells the story of the arrival of the cryptomeria to the Azores, which was brought by José do Canto», Sónia said. The suitcases are much more than a product, since they have a little associated with the island´s history.

Daughter of a carpenter, Sónia Pereira soon got used to appreciating the wood, but after graduating from the architecture course in Lisbon, Portugal, and having won the regional entrepreneurship competition, with the project "Casa de Bonecas", she decided to wage in fashion. Ideas for future fashion projects are not lacking, but for now she prefers to concentrate on producing cryptomeria lady's bags. Although the price isn´t yet defined, and since many orders have already been made, the businesswoman intends to "make the business fly", during the year 2017, through online sales.

According with Sónia Pereira, who considers herself an entrepreneur, this is «a charming and simultaneously frightening challenge».

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