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Polymers clothed in light

An interview with Valentina Lo Savio, head of marketing and communications for Italian garden furniture manufacturer Slide.
Polymers clothed in light
Polymers clothed in light

Briefly, what is Slide's history as a company ?

The Slide company was founded in 2002. However, we were not new to the world of plastics and design, and we actually had over twenty years of experience in those fields given that we previously produced household and garden items. This was more a case of business development. Our products are still manufactured in our factories located in Buccinasco, near Milan. We were the first to produce light furniture made from polyethylene, to which we owe much of our success: these items will soon be exported to over 120 countries throughout the world.

What are the keys to your success in this highly-competitive industry ?

First of all, we have a very wide range of products, including seats, tables, lamps, pots, bar counters and even shelves. Our significant production capacity is another advantage. However, I believe that our greatest strength lies in our creativity and our ability to constantly offer new products. On average, a new item is added to our catalogue every month. That's no small thing! Although our collection may seem eclectic due to the diverse range of products, it is nevertheless fairly consistent since we enjoy creating distinctive objects that are often brightly-coloured and likely to play with light. We believe that these objects help to create a unique atmosphere evocative of the notion of the ideal, both indoors and outdoors.

What are your requirements in terms of design ?

We have set up many partnerships with internationally-renowned designers such as Marc Sadler, Karim Rashid, Marcel Wanders, Paola Navone, Alessandro Mendini, Stefano Giovannoni and Marco Acerbis, who we ask to design quality products that will be sold in the medium- and high-budget market segments. We are also interested in highly-talented young designers in whom we see great potential. We consider taking a bet on these as yet little-known designers as a type of investment.



Your products are mainly high-end products and, as such, they have to be of the highest quality. Who manufactures the products ?

Part of our success is due to the "made in Slide" guarantee. It is in fact our whole philosophy! Our products are manufactured in our 20,000 sqm factory in Italy. We employ highly-qualified staff at all stages of the production chain: engineering, foundry, finishing, assembly, painting, etc. Plastics are an integral part of our professional life, because they are not only a resource for the company, but also central to all of our industrial processes.

Speaking of which, which plastics are used to manufacture your objects ?

Since 2002, the year in which the company was created, we have been using polyethylene exclusively, as stated above, using the rotomoulding technique. Polyethylene is a fantastic material due to its longevity, its high resistance to weather conditions and it also combines well with light by reflecting it in a very pleasing way. But it does have some limitations as regards moulding complex shapes. Polyurethane does not have this flaw: thanks to the injection moulding technique, it can take on any shape. It enabled us to expand our collections and to offer many new products that it would have been impossible for us to offer with the rotomoulding process. In addition, polyurethane can be flexible or rigid depending on its intended use. It's a clear advantage!

Are you involved in the search for new polymers ? 

I wouldn't put it like that, but we are nevertheless very attentive to developments  concerning these materials. We constantly strive to improve our manufacturing processes. For instance, we recently developed an extremely refined painting technique which is perfect for high-end products and the luxury market. The introduction of polyurethane also enables us to revisit some of our processes in order to offer products that are always of the finest quality possible.


Finally, what is your environmental policy ?

All Slide products are entirely recyclable. We also use recycled polymers for certain ranges of products: they are mainly used for predominantly black, grey or chocolate-coloured products. We try to avoid waste as much as possible. As a result, we try to reuse the materials derived from trimming operations, for instance. In some cases, the materials even serve as base materials for other types of products. Finally, our lighting systems are increasingly designed to use rechargeable batteries or LEDs. The combination of both techniques enables users to make saving and is a considerable asset when it comes to protecting the planet's resources.


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