Once upon a time
Like any other Little Prince, Franco Dominici travelled around the world, observing self-conscious roses and befriending wary foxes.
Then he came back home to Italy and worked in the field of luxury and fashion: what else, when you love beauty?
‘Going ahead’ was Signor Dominici’s motto. He had the intuition (and the will power) to transfer the values and qualities of this thinking to furniture.
And that’s how he created Segis, which means ’camel saddle’ in Latin.
As original as its name, the company reflected the uniqueness of its creator from the start.
In 1983 he was already very concerned with the future of the world in which he lived.
Hence his priority for environment protection: design priority was then, and still is, given to materials, technical solutions, technologies and production processes that provide energy savings and guarantee the lowest environmental impact.
Ecology is a culture
“Ecology is something we have to take care of in all areas: materials, processes, packaging, energy, transportation, places we buy from…”, says Dominici, who understood, 25 years ago, that environmentally-friendly is not exclusively synonymous with “recyclable and biodegradable.” It is a discipline in which you have to overcome prejudices and rely on hard facts about impact on the environment. Hence his resorting to plastics as a favourite material for his more environmentally friendly chairs.
Segis’s transport process for chairs is an example of Franco Dominici’s pioneering view: they are never boxed but loaded in and unloaded from the trucks with a trolley that was specially designed for the purpose. “Space and air are your enemies as far as transportation is concerned. The less air your truck carries, the more efficiently it uses oil and the less it impacts on the environment”.
With the chair trolley, two trucks out of three are saved. The boss’s satisfaction has more to do with reducing the impact on the environment than with financial savings.
A visionary captain of industry
Segis’s first products were chairs.
But at a time when money was leading the world, Franco Dominici was adamant that he did not want to participate in the destruction of trees.
Therefore he chose steel and plastics as raw materials: “the ‘normal way’ to make a chair at the time was to bend multilayer wooden frames, which meant using a lot of wood, a lot of glue and a lot of energy.
It was so much easier to use plastics, which offered a greater freedom of conception and had less impact on the environment.” Says Dominici
But he didn’t choose any plastics: he used recycled polypropylene coming from the German automotive industry.
Why German and not Italian? Well… “We Italians have a lot of good ideas, but as far as implementation and ecological conscience are concerned, Germans are the best.”
Design is love
“You don’t choose a designer just for his style, any more than you choose a woman just for her looks. In both cases, you need to have a common feeling - to transform an aesthetic enthusiasm into love, or into professional collaboration.” Franco Dominici thus shares his ecological concern with his team of designers. His motto is “minimal design.” Everything which is not absolutely necessary has to be avoided.
The result was stunning from the start: the Breeze armchair, made of aluminium and polypropylene and meant “to refresh our memory and our style”, met its purpose so well that since its very creation, in 1996, it has received loads of awards: It was immediately presented in the German Vitra Design Museum.
In the Greek Thessaloniki Design Museum, in the USA, it was granted the “I.D. Design Distinction Award” and the “I.I.D.A Apex Product Design Award”.
Plus the prize Industrie Forum Design in Hannover and the “Red Point of high quality design“of Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen (both in Germany).
Since March 2000, Breeze has been representing Italian Design in the first philatelic issue of stamps dedicated to this subject by the Italian Post Office.
This is the reward Franco Dominici is the most proud of. Even more than when, in 2004, the Breeze armchair became part of an exclusive selection of seating exhibited at the “Triennale di Milano” in the “Coffee Design” area.
The fact that more than a million Breeze armchairs have been produced since its birth is, in his opinion, the evidence of its design qualities, and nothing more.
This sounds logical for a minimal design adept!
Beauty does not exclude certifications
Almost all of Segis’ production meets the reference standards awarded by regulatory institutions such as: UNI (I), EN (UE), DIN (D), BS (GB), ANSI-Bifma (USA).
The company's quality system has been certified according to the international UNI EN ISO 9001-2000 standard for years, and in 2006, also received the Ethical Behaviour SA 8000 Certification.
A recent evaluation by the EU, performed on a select group of leading European companies, confirmed Segis as one of the very best in Europe in the field of workplace ergonomics.
In 2007, Segis, Delight and Multipla products have been recognised as eco-sustainable by the ‘Australian Ecolabel Program’ (The ’Good Environmental Choice Australia Ltd Award’).