Up two flights of winding steps, the dark but ornate staircase led
to a plain wooden door. In the gloom, the nameplate was unreadable, so
it was with trepidation that I sidled through into one of the tiniest
vestibules the world has ever seen.
Swathed from head to foot in dark, oak panelling, the room was topped by
a dizzyingly high but beautifully decorated ceiling, while in the corner
stood a giant shoebox on wheels.
Behind this sat a student, gabbling at high speed into a telephone,
while at the same time struggling to stop piles of paper sliding to the
Then I spotted it. The graffiti on the box which said in bold letters:
’S...C...P...F’. This was it. This was the lair of Toni Segarra, the ’S’
in Spain’s hottest hotshop, and the driving force behind the country’s
Segarra, now 37, was only 29 when he carried home Spain’s first Cannes
Grand Prix. One of the original founders of the renowned Casadevall
Pedreno, he also presided over Delvico Bates’s most creative period from
1992 to 1996. Now, with a bunch of pals from Delvico, he is doing his
Winning more awards, that is, and continuing a crusade to put ideas and
humour back into Spanish ads.
To look at him, though, you’d think he ran a hamburger bar. A big bear
of a man, clad in a baggy short-sleeved shirt and trousers, Segarra
looks for all the world like he is just popping out for an outing at the
Yet he is almost academic in his approach to advertising, voraciously
studying reports, annuals and new developments the minute he has time to
spare, and devoting almost as much energy to crystal-ball gazing at the
He is a lover of chaos, hates administration and does not stand on
ceremony - and the entire agency reflects his feelings. The student in
the entrance hall was, of course, the receptionist and the rest of the
45 staff mill around the agency, similarly relaxed in jeans or
S,C,P,F is currently crammed into a converted apartment - built in the
grand style popular at the turn of the century. As such, there is a lot
of atmosphere, no space and six bathrooms - although the agency has just
made space for four more people - by painting the kitchen bright yellow
and lugging in more desks.
As is common in the industry, S,C,P,F’s latest ads (and there are some
stunners) are displayed on the walls. But here they are pegged on to
string in the old dining room which now houses the overflow from
reception - and the desks of two secretaries.
The dining room is in fact the heart of the agency, and a warren of
rooms lead off it into which creatives from as far apart as Norway and
Brazil hang out or beaver away at computers, each playing a different
type of music. Loudly.
’I love this chaotic environment,’ Segarra declares. ’This mess is
fruitful for me. At Delvico Bates the problem was organising the
department, bureaucratic things. But here I have two partners to do that
side of the business.’
They are Ignasi Puig, the managing director, and Luis Cuesta, the
agency’s president. The fourth founder of S,C,P,F is now a director, but
keeps in very close touch. On the day I visited him, Segarra had just
won a design award for Felix Fernandez de Castro’s logo, and he was as
chuffed as if it had been a Cannes lion.
So, ensconced happily in his home town of Barcelona, and respected both
within Spain and outside it, where will Segarra’s enthusiasms be
’Somewhere in the world there is some Bernbach or other who will invent
a new way for advertising,’ he muses, but adds sadly: ’It will probably
be in London or New York.’
Having completed a philology degree at Barcelona, Segarra started up a
design studio called Vinizius
Moved into advertising with a job as a copywriter at Vizeversa
Became one of the founding partners of creative hotshop, Casadevall
Pedreno SPR (he was the S).
Six months later, Segarra left to become the creative director of
Delvico Bates and for the next four years presided over one of most
creative eras in its history
Segarra and three colleagues formed a breakaway agency from Delvico
Bates called S,C,P,F.