Custom boardroom furniture – high tech meets Italian design
SF Bay Area company creates timeless signature pieces
Before the Franz brothers, Dan and Bob, launched their company in 1986, they had years of experience selling high-end office furniture. But it wasn’t until one of Dan’s frequent visits to family in Italy, that he had an aha moment.
Stopping by an office furniture showroom in Milan, Dan was inspired by what he saw. The elegant veneers and laminates, in a wide variety of finishes, simply weren’t available in the US. Nor was the sophisticated design and forward-thinking use of renewable materials.
Italian design, California crafted
Once Dan returned to the San Francisco Bay Area, he and Bob hit the ground running and opened the doors of Franz Design Group. They were convinced they could produce boardroom and office furniture more unique and long-lasting than anything on the American market.
“We started designing and building showpieces — the first ones were conference tables to fit in unusual spaces. Even when customers requested some oddball custom piece, the answer was always yes,” says Dan.
As the orders rolled in, Dan’s wife Janice joined the crew, and took her place as administrative manager and the glue that bound the company together.
Furniture to end boardroom boredom
The brothers started by serving the trade — designers and furniture dealers — but soon began to attract business customers with an eye for innovation.
“They wanted one-of-a-kind reception desks and conference tables that make a statement,” says Bob. “People have never come to us for vanilla. We love a challenge and have built a reputation for creativity and problem solving.”
Bringing technology to the table
To accommodate their growth, the Franzes moved the company from the SF Design Center area to Marin County in 1991. They’ve continued to specialize in handcrafted office furniture, drawing on the experience and skills of Operations Manager and Technical Advisor Matt Hanaike, who has been with them from day one.
“Starting in the mid-90s clients began asking for power, audio/video and data ports built in to their tables,” says Bob. “Since then, we’ve made a point of keeping on top of technology so that our products have a long useful life.”