Established in 1966 in the area north of Milan near Como with famous neighbours like Minotti, this part of Italy thrived in the post war years. From its inception, B&B Italia took an industrial approach to manufacturing in contrast to the small traditional artisan competitors typical of the sector. With a finger on the pulse of contemporary culture, B&B Italia is known for modern furniture elements that are distinctive and characterised by exceptional quality and timeless elegance. It’s a unique union between creativity, innovation and industrial know-how.
B&B Italia and Maxalto
In residential furniture, there are two brand collections: B&B Italia and Max Alto. Each has an individual identity yet with the same philosophy of blending innovation and design to create products whose unique style and elegance are unmistakable.
B&B Italia: its uniqueness lies in an unrivalled blend of creativity, innovation and industrial potential. The artful anticipation of trends and expert response to the evolution of taste and the needs of living deliver a collection of contemporary design furnishing, whose premium quality marks an impressive chapter in the history of Italian design. Several products are instantly recognisable as a B&B Italia model, such as the Charles sofa which gave direction to a generation of modular sofa arrangements.
Maxalto: a complete range of “new classic” furnishings that stand apart for the excellent quality workmanship, precious materials and refined details. Maxalto upholds the values of “made in Italy” with unmistakeable timeless elegance.
The B&B Italia Charles sofa
Timeless elegance defines the Maxalto range by Antonio Citterio
A union of technology and creativity
Strong relationships with international designers and continual research, have always been key factors in the development of the company. Each B&B Italia product is a direct result of R&D, creativity and quality. Numerous awards have resulted, including no less than 4 Compasso D‘Oro prizes, the most prestigious honour in the field of Italian industrial design.
“Le Bambole ’07” by Mario Bellini for B&B Italia
The starting point was a shopping bag that contained formless material that was shaped when the bag was set on the ground and squashed. This is how Le Bambole came into being between 1970 and 1972. The series turned out to be an icon for the 1970s and won the “Compasso d’Oro” award in 1979. The search for a new shape for upholstered furniture: all of the parts are shaped like a large soft cushion. Le Bambole , said Bellini, “are not covered in fabric, instead they are built of fabric.”
Le Bambole never age. What makes them special is the apparent absence of a load bearing structure, the extreme naturalness of their shape, and the combination of comfort, softness and elasticity.
B&B Italia opted to launch Le Bambole in an approach connected with the icon of the moment, jeans. Photographed by Oliviero Toscani with the model Donna Jordan, the product launch was creative, distinctive and provocative, once again breaking with established codes. The advert was censured immediately, and a simultaneous flow of communication began which had a very positive effect on the product’s sales.
The original Le Bambole campaign featuring Donna Jordan, photographed by Oliviero Toscani
Collaboration with international designers
Designers who have worked with the B&B Italia design department include Antonio Citterio, Patricia Urquiola, Gaetano Pesce, Naoto Fukasawa, Zaha Hadid, Marcel Wanders, Richard Sapper, Afra and Tobia Scarpa, Jean-Marie Massaud, Jeffrey Bernett, Mario Bellini, Studio Kairos, Paolo Piva, Richard Schultz, Atelier Oi, David Chipperfield, C. Gerhards and A. Glucker, Chris Howker, Ettore Sottsass, Gabriele and Oscar Buratti, Jakob Wagner, Monica Armani, Nicole Aebischer, Roberto Barbieri, Uwe Fischer, and Vincent Van Duysen.
Grand Papilio (2009) designed by Naoto Fukasawa
B&B Italia have produced some of the iconic designs of the last 50 years. The Serie Up (1969) by Gaetano Pesce, the Le Bambole (1972) by Mario Bellini, the Charles sofa by Antonio Citterio, the Tobi-Ishi table (2012) by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby to name just a few.
Determination to push creativity and innovation have kept B&B Italia at the forefront of contemporary furniture design. Both current and vintage designs from the 1960s onwards continue to be relevant and valuable today.
Owning a piece of B&B Italia furniture is an investment in great design.
The Serie Up designed in 1969 by Gaetano Pesce