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B&B Italia: a True Symbol of Italian Modern Design

B&B Italia: a True Symbol of Italian Modern Design

B&B Italia is an acclaimed Italian furniture brand that has contributed to writing the history of Italian design. So let’s find out more about its best designs and history.

B&B Italia has already become one of the main symbols of “Made in Italy” quality and it’s rightly considered one of the key players on the market of design furniture. B&B Italia was established in 1966 as C&B (Cassina & Busnelli) by its talented and charismatic founder, Pier Ambrogio Busnelli. The company instantly distinguished itself for its impeccable modern style, use of innovative materials and technologies, soon becoming an international landmark for upholstered furniture. In 1973 Pier Ambrogio Busnelli changed the name of the company to B&B Italia.

SAKE Sofa | B&B Italia | B&B Italia: a True Symbol of Italian Modern Design | Eurooo.com

SAKE Sofa by B&B Italia

“Products that are valuable in time”, this has been the company’s main philosophy and value for more than forty years. With creativity, innovation and manufacturing efficiency B&B Italia has set high standards and brought forth products that are captivating, highly functional and durable. Today the company’s distribution network covers more than 50 countries worldwide, counts more than 800 retailers and a growing number of flagship stores.

CRINOLINE Armchair | B&B Italia | B&B Italia: a True Symbol of Italian Modern Design | Eurooo.com

 CRINOLINE Armchair by B&B Italia

With its timeless collections B&B Italia has always anticipated trends. Adapting to changes and responding to the needs of the market and its customers, the brand is not only distinguished by its impeccable taste, high quality, modern technology and innovations, but also by its refined products with modern and decisive character.

LE BAMBOLE Collection | B&B Italia | B&B Italia: a True Symbol of Italian Modern Design | Eurooo.com

LE BAMBOLE Collection by B&B Italia

LE BAMBOLE by Mario Bellini


Le Bambole collection by Mario Bellini is one of the most famous creations of the brand and can be rightfully considered a true icon of the seventies. Le Bambole was born between 1970 and 1972 and was rewarded with the Compasso d’Oro prestigious design award in 1979. This collection was designed by 35-year-old Mario Bellini and basically this sofa resembled a big and soft cushion. This model has made the history of upholstered furniture, revolutionizing the market with a product that, in Bellini’s own words, was not covered with fabric, but was actually built in it. The designer’s idea was to create a sofa that had to look as if it were made solely of cushions, with no support structure. Its natural shape was supposed to evoke comfort and softness at first sight.

LE BAMBOLE Collection | B&B Italia | B&B Italia: a True Symbol of Italian Modern Design | Eurooo.com

Piero Busnelli, the founder of B&B Italia, who was famous for his ability to anticipate trends, called photographer Oliviero Toscani who set out a creative and very provocative campaign. Donna Jordan, one of the favorite models and muses of Andy Warhol, was photographed topless in a series of bold poses to promote this spontaneous and innovative sofa. The campaign was censored, nevertheless it managed to have an incredibly positive effect on the promotion of this product. In 2007, 35 years after its creation, the company asked Mario Bellini to update the shape of Le Bambole. The campaign was again assigned to Oliviero Toscani who introduced Le Bambole to the new millennium.

UP Collection | B&B Italia | B&B Italia: a True Symbol of Italian Modern Design | Eurooo.com

UP 5 Armachair and UP 6 Ottoman by B&B Italia

UP Collection by Gaetano Pesce


Up collection by Gaetano Pesce was created in 1969 and it can be considered a pop icon expressing all the boldness and energy of the 60’s. This model was celebrated in design collections, exhibited in museums all over the world and recently added to the new installation at the Design Museum of the Triennale in Milan. Up’s huge version was also installed in Piazza del Duomo during Milan design week. Gaetano Pesce originally designed the Up collection for C&B, the precursor to B&B Italia, which still manufactures the chair. The series consists of seven pieces of furniture upholstered in an elastic synthetic material. Today the most well-known element of the collection is Up 5, featured in countless magazines and movies. This model is also known as Big Mama and it represents a sculpture-like abstraction of the female body, with a huge ball attached to it, called Up 6 and functioning as an ottoman. 

UP Collection | B&B Italia | B&B Italia: a True Symbol of Italian Modern Design | Eurooo.com


The idea for this design came to Gaetano Pesce unexpectedly like many great ideas: while he was in the shower. “I had a sponge in my hand”, explains this famous Italian designer. “When I pressed the sponge, it shrank and when I released it, it returned to its original volume.” This is how an idea occurred to him: Couldn’t this principle be also applied to a chair? Gaetano Pesce began experimenting with vacuum-packaging technology and with the hippest material of that period: polyurethane. Soon he managed to develop a gravity-defying model: a simple disk that once removed from its packaging would be transformed into a cushy armchair. The form that emerged was not a simple piece of furniture. Its rounded generous shape was inspired by statuettes of ancient fertility goddesses and was full of meaning. By attaching a big ball to this chair symbolizing a female figure, Gaetano Pesce gave his design a deeper meaning, stressing the position of a woman in society as not being free, but being tied to the constrains of her gender by a man’s world. Gaetano Pesce himself says about the project: “I told a personal story of my concept of women. Despite themselves, women have always been prisoners of the prejudice and fears of men. Along these lines, I liked the idea of giving this armchair a feminine shape with a ball and chain, the traditional image of the prisoner.”

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