Natural wood surfaces and how to describe it in modern terms

It is hard to understand the language of sustainability or green building these days. Marketing is what sells products and if you aren’t up on the trendy words, you’ll be in the dark.

Sustainable, Natural and Transparent, what does this mean?

Healthy, Regenerative, Restorative, Transparency, Natural and Authentic. These words make a product and here’s why.

"Transparency is the design tool for healthy buildings."

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This word is often regarded as a good descriptive word for maintainable business practices. A business should be sustainable and profitable. Aren’t they the same? Sustainable is what a business does to survive long term. It doesn’t take more than it gives and its environmental solutions are net zero. Forest management is a great example. If we cut all the trees down, the forest is gone and we have no more trees.

"mafi has been a big advocate of Austria forest law that was enacted in 1852 which simply states that as a nation Austria will plant more trees than it cuts every year."

It is also partnered with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) and the Program for the endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). In order to have a sustainable wood products manufacturing business you must take care of the resource, a healthy forest. It must be growing more than it is dying.  Mafi buys its logs from sustainable foresters and adheres to good land stewardship.


Humans are species that cohabitate this world with nature. Humans are not separate from any part of it and we must coexist with nature or we will not survive. We must be respectful of nature and be sustainable in our resources extraction and renewal. Recent times show us the damage humans have done to nature and that if we do not maintain connection with her we will continue towards an unknown and possibly irreversible consequences of our actions.

Studies have shown the negative results of being disconnected to nature. Alternatively, study results show that being in the forest or just outside in nature allows us to reconnect with our eternal sense of belonging and longevity.

"mafi wood products are carefully preserved in our internal environments by being free of artificial ingredients or coated in a plastic barrier finish."

Being in contact with any mafi natural wood surface is a connection to nature herself. We go beyond the optical of a product and provide the most natural ingredients, pure colors and a genuine haptical experience.

Regenerative and Restorative

Biophilic design helps us to a connection to other species in the natural world, plants, animals, views of nature and other aspects.  Regenerative design is a space and time relationship that allows a continual pursuit of safety and wellness indoors for as long as possible by incorporating truly natural products and other elements of nature.

One part of regenerative design is that all the building materials are meant for an additional purpose. Wood is a perfect example of a regenerative product. Not only is wood beautiful and healthy but it also sequesters Carbon. Notably, mafi surfaces are meant to last longer than any other wood floor. Most other wood floors with a “durable” coating, that must be sanded off and replaced, reduces its life by a third every instance of this renewal.

"mafi wood is not just complying with the base standards of not being “not bad for you” like most standards request, it is actually improving the space and regenerating and restoring it."

Mafi wood only needs water and soap to maintain its beauty. Washing a mafi floor on a regular schedule actually helps the floor last longer. mafi wood is also without toxins and it has restorative features like air filtration, cognitive improvements and stress relief, happen whilst washing. mafi wood actually cleans and heals itself while also cleaning the air and its helping the occupants.


Transparency is the design tool for healthy buildings. It is a clear definition of what something actually is. In the sustainable design world there is a plethora of terms and certifications which make it hard to know what to really believe.  Some awards are bought and some certifications can be manipulated by leaving some ingredients out of the calculations of the total product.  To really design for health of the occupants, one must uncover every stone and look in every corner to discover what harmful things are in each part of a product. To be truly transparent, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) must be completed by a third party accredited company and is the only way to validate the product and it manufacturing cycle for total transparency.

"mafi has, for a century, made a product that is simple. It is taken from nature and formed into a useful shape with no harmful additions or alterations."

Engaging in International Living Future Institutes’ Living Product Challenge, doing a LCA and creating an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) and a Healthy Product Declaration (HPD) shows that what we say, we are doing.  mafi is required to open the doors for an assessor, to allow discovery of our complete energy source and explain our energy usage, tell of our product ingredient sourcing, also how we dispose of our waste and finally prove that we genuinely take care of our employees. mafi is transparent.

mafi is not only „not bad for you” but actually improving the space

The building industry today is more focused on occupant health, ecology and environment than in the past. At minimum there are tools and platform organizations for the specifying architects and designers who have sustainable philosophies in mind. What the missing link is now; materials for the finished building that do not harm or better yet, products that, improve health.

What mafi supplies are wood interior surfaces that are sustainable, natural, regenerative and restorative and transparent. We also know of several hundred studies that prove wood is at least healthy and cause no harm, are proven to reduce stress and improve lives.

Wood floors with finish on the surface are not wood floors.

Healthy workspaces should have a close relationship with wood and shouldn’t be restricted by a hard surface barrier or “finish”.  Any wood surface that has a restrictive barrier on the top is no longer wood; it is whatever the surface product is.

For example, a wood floor coated in water-based “eco-friendly” urethane is a plastic coated floor that is supported by wood. Not a wood floor. The surface of a floor is what you walk on and clean or maintain.

Creating the most natural experience

mafi floor boards are open to the air without added polyurethane or UV cured oils. This skin-wood connection is the one way to derive health benefits. In our modern spaces we need to have a healthy materials that are easy to clean, trendy and beautiful. mafi floors do all of these basic principles.

For 40 years the mafi company and the Fillafer family have, by more hands than machines, made a natural wood surface that washes easily with water and soap making it resilient. Using old techniques and a simple structure with solid wood and plant-based oils a mafi floor allows water to be absorbed and released naturally creating a comfortable and healthy atmosphere.

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