A conversation with


For over 30 years, Alisea has designed and produced environmentally friendly objects of design and items for everyday use, using materials coming from supply chains planned exclusively around a circular economy.

The recycling and reuse of materials has been the company's mission since its founding, making it an example of Remade in Italy and an inspiration for all those who still struggle to follow systemic, circular reasoning.

From the recovery and recycling of graphite and cork comes Perpetua g_cork.
At first sight it might look like a simple cork, but that's not all it is: it writes just like a pencil. Selected by the ADI Design Index for the Compasso D'Oro, the most important and authoritative design award in the world. Design by Marta Giardini.

Alisea promotes a regenerative manufacturing system instead of an extraction-based one, and tries to create exchanges between two or more industries for resources, with the goal of generating reciprocal competitive advantages. The company positions itself as a promoter of industrial and economic symbiosis, through innovation in production processes and a circular economy.

We managed to meet with Susanna Martucci, an explosive woman who is always on the move and rarely in the same place for more than an hour - CEO and founder of Alisea, a Benefit Company and certified B Corp.

  • Out of so many materials, how come it is graphite that has ended up at the centre of your activities and a large amount of your research?

From the recovery and reuse of unavoidable waste from the industrial production of aircraft parts: resinated carbon fibre fabric.

“Graphite is the inevitable waste from the industrial production of one of our clients, Tecno EDM in Turin, which produces electrodes for the aeronautics, aerospace, railway and automotive sectors: tonnes of graphite that usually ends up in landfill, buried underground.
Graphite is a non-toxic, inert material, and as I see it, it is highly valuable. The challenge we are faced with is to try to produce an object able to promote their brand, to be used during the next Paris Trade Fair, starting with this graphite waste.

And what if this were a pencil?

In 2013, we discovered that - incredible as it is to say - there are no pencil producers in Italy, and therefore no option to insert ourselves into an existing production process within the country, or anyone to partner with to replace virgin material with our waste material.

Until then, nobody had ever reused graphite waste: it was a perfect opportunity to find out what we would be able to do starting from scratch, and test Alisea's real potential after 20 years of working on the most diverse waste materials, and where we would be able to arrive at in the future.

If someone had been producing pencils in Italy, we wouldn't have realised how far we have come, and we would never have set sail in search of new seas, guided by favourable winds: trade winds (alisei in Italian) are where my company took its name from - the winds that guide sailors towards safe harbours on their voyages. 

The traditional pencil, with its very fine graphite centre, two wooden shell pieces glued together and painted, and a metal crown that holds the rubber, had to be redesigned and regenerated; we wanted to create something unique, recognisable and clever: this is how Perpetua came about, the only pencil in the world made with 100% recycled graphite, Remade in Italy

Graphite turned out to be an extremely versatile material, with multiple applications. With graphite, we now produce a pigment to use for screen prints; in 2017 we patented a new system for textile dyeing in collaboration with the start-up WRAD Living, which I also co-founded, along with Matteo Ward. In 2021, with the Margaritelli Group, we developed an innovative wood paint for Listone Giordano and Icro. The third patent, from last year, is a coating for the urban regeneration sector with unique, innovative characteristics: it is able to increase resistance to fire and acid attacks, with high energy performance, thanks to graphite's thermal conductivity. 

Today, Alisea accompanies the activity of designing and producing objects from production waste with the invention of new materials, always based on waste. We like to look to the future and do our bit, and in order to do this, it is indispensable to build the right alliances, collaborate with market players who share the same values-based goals as Alisea, share know-how and knowledge, and commit to research and development that can create innovative products with which everyone wins, including the planet.”

  • Upcycling, recovery and recycling. Circular economy: often those who do it have been doing so for a long time, without promoting it ostentatiously. Instead, the ones speaking about it are often not doing it, or not yet. What has Alisea's journey been?

“Telling stories has always been an integral part of Alisea's mission. Alisea tells the story of waste that, instead of ending up in landfill, lives a second life.
A story that I tell to suppliers when I purchase their waste, that I tell to my team members when we are around the table, designing projects for recovery and regeneration, and that I tell to clients when I present them with the new finished Object created with their raw and secondary materials.
A story of progress and rebirth, where the heroes are technology and commitment, and the mission is to salvage waste in order to regenerate it, redesign it into new forms, new ideas and new stories.

These stories have always been here within Alisea's walls, in our meeting rooms, in the processing hangars, in the buzz from our clients. And now, in the last ten years, the topic of reusing the inevitable waste from industrial production or processing surplus has become more and more popular; the circular economy is one of the driving forces behind the ecological transition, and an important part of the concept of sustainability.

A thin steel strip made from 60% salvaged and recycled scrap magnetically attracts Perpetua the Pencil to itself, thanks to two ferrous micro-magnets. Specially designed and manufactured for the Perpetua recorder the magnetic notebook project.

Today I find myself on the stage during a historical turning point, in a world that is beginning to work systemically on the concepts that I have been trying to apply for years within our microscopic reality: when the spotlight started to shine on the idea of reducing waste and industrial by-products, Alisea could already boast 20 years of experience in the field. This is how the stories of our products and their journeys have started to become public, and interact more and more with marketing strategies and corporate positioning.
Every day I come across businesses involved in greenwashing, in many ways and at various levels of awareness. We live in a world where companies are not used to being transparent with their stakeholders: they speak about only what serves them as a promotional tool, and omit what is convenient to omit.
People are not used to questioning the truth of companies' declarations. We have a long way to go before the concepts of transparency and respect for consumers are fully accepted. 

I speak of respect, because people - consumers - invest in products, companies and brands, and they need to be put in the position of being able to make conscious choices based on honest, transparent information.
If, for example, I promote my t-shirt that is produced with 100% organic cotton, but I cannot guarantee that it has not been packaged in conditions that exploit workers, or that I have not used dyes that may have polluted places on the other side of the world, I am not respecting my consumers, and the story I am telling is certainly not in any way sustainable.

Economic, environmental and social sustainability must always, by necessity, come together. We are making important steps, but to do so we need to all try to go in the same direction, and we are finally beginning to do this. Even though there are, and there will always be strict regulations on these issues - certifications, audits and laws - we know full well that when people are involved, some will always take liberties. 

To what extent is honesty the story we want to tell?”


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N° 11


The firefly knows the secret to producing light without heat.
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