Made (Well) in Italy: B&B Italia, 50 years innovating
B&B Italia and furniture design celebrate their golden wedding. It’s already been 50 years that the Lombardy-based company spreads the culture of design all over the world, joining modernity and immortality in unique projects. Funded in 1966 by Piero Ambrogio Busnelli, the company has its roots in a solid combination of genius and industrial spirit. The latter was extremely new in an environment of small artisan realities.
In an age where made in Italy was shaping the identity of our young Republic, Busnelli stood out for the ability to support the Italian quality with the use of cutting-edge manufacturing technologies and innovative materials, such as polyurethane, now in widespread use. His courage made him choose a then little-known architect to design the general headquarters of the company, in Novedrate, near Milan - Renzo Piano. The building, completed in 1973, also bears the signature of Richard Rogers and reinterprets some fundamental principles of modernism, anticipating the famous Centre Pompidou in Paris, designed by the same two architects years later.
In the same period, B & B Italy relies on young and irreverent photographer Oliviero Toscani to publicize the innovative design of Le Bambole, signed by Mario Bellini. The shots, with a half-naked Donna Jordan, aroused a veritable scandal which contributed in the creation of an icon.
Awarded the Compasso d’Oro in 1979, this series of padded items is characterized by a soft and comfortable design, "not upholstered but built with fabric", still contemporary, and not surprisingly reissued in 2007 in a new version with removable coating.
1975 is the year of the debut of the Maxalto collection, currently coordinated by Antonio Citterio. The very name is a statement of intent: the word comes from Venetian dialect expression “Massa alto” which means “the highest”, and for B&B it defines a project aiming at reinterpreting the classics with a contemporary touch, combining the traditional know-how with the most advanced industrial processes, the finest materials with the most meticulous attention to detail.
B&B Italia boasts an internal research center thanks to which in 1989 it was the first company to be awarded a Compasso d’Oro for "the constant work of integration work with the objective of combining the values of technical and scientific research with the required functionality and expressiveness of the products ".
Charles and Henry sofas, designed a few years later by Antonio Citterio, made the brand famous for introducing the chaise-longue element and metal feet, that convey a contemporary look.
Outdoor collections were launched in 2007 with the Canasta series by Patricia Urquiola: inspired by Vienna straw,they replicate the crossed pattern adding a contemporary twist with the use of innovative and durable materials, such as polyethylene.
In 2011, the same designer gave life to the enveloping and futuristic Husk chair, that entered in 2014 the Historical Collection of the Compasso d'Oro ADI, dedicated to the excellence of Italian design.
An excellence demonstrated by the presence of Maxalto in 2016 Oscars greenroom, built a few steps away from Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre and conceived as “some place very familiar, and very American, but with distinct European highlights.”
Expressiveness, constant innovation, comfort, versatility - B&B Italia is Made (Well) in Italy.
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