has contributed to writing the history of italian design. The company is one of the key players on the market for design furniture and has played an important part in establishing the designation of origin "Made in Italy" as an internationally highly esteemed brand. Today the B&B Group is represented on the global market with two distict divisions: the Home Division, comprising the brands B&B Italia, B&B Italia Outdoor, B&B Italia Project and Maxalto, and the Contract Division which is focused on turnkey projects for furnishings and finishes in the hospitality, retail, office and nautical sectors. Large projects have characterised the history of the Contract Division. The latest include the Bulgari Hotels in Milan and London, Cafe Royale and ME Hotel in London, the Conservatorium Hotel in Amsterdam and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Barcelona.
The company's headquarter in Milan was built in 1972, after a project by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. Its own distribution network covers 54 countries worldwide and counts more than 800 retailers and a growing number of flagship stores. Utmost importance is attached to an efficient customer service. From the early days B&B Italia distinguished itself from the handcrafting, family-run style businesses by pursuing an industrial approach. With its timeless collections the company anticipated trends. Adapting to change and responding to the needs of its customers, B&B Italia stands not only for taste and quality, technology and innovation, but also for refined products with a modern and strong character.
B&B Italia: research and development
One of the key elements of the company's politics is research. The B&B Italia Center for Research & Development, a veritable melting pot of new ideas, is a place to share projects and experiences, to exchange and foster ideas. The Center for Research & Development keeps exciting the creativity of renowed designers by providing them with all the skill and know-how acquired over the years. Antonio Citterio, Patricia Urquiola, Mario Bellini, Gaetano Pesce, Naoto Fukasawa, to mention only a few of the numerous collaborators. Every project is unique. The quality and the high aesthetic value of the final products is not at least the result of constant research.
But B&B Italia puts emphasis on development, too. The company's efforts to ever improve its products are attested by its continuous studies in technology, innovation and materials. Technology is one of the instruments making the company thrive, and testing new materials is just as important as regularly revising procedures and production facilities. Not by chance B&B Italy was the first company to employ the new technology of injection moulding (or cold polyurethane foam moulding) for the realization of sofas and armchairs, or to use Dacron for the padding.
B&B Italia: company history and iconic products
B&B Italia was established in 1966 as C&B (Cassina & Busnelli) as a result of the insight and entrepreneurship of its charismatic founder, Pier Ambrogio Busnelli. The company instantly distinguished itself for its style, in terms of product design, use of innovative materials and employed technologies, soon becoming an international landmark for upholstered furniture. The technological revolution of injection moulding (cold polyurethane foam moulding) yielded such icons of design as to find in the Up
collection by Gaetano Pesce or the Coronado
collection by Tobia and Afra Scarpa.
1973 Pier Ambrogio Busnelli purchases Cassina's shares and changes the name of the company to B&B Italia. With the collection Le Bambole
by Mario Ferrarini and its provocative advertising campaign the 1970s marked a turning point for the company. In the '80s the company continues its ascent by winning its first Compasso d’Oro for the wardrobe Sisamo. In 1989 B&B Italia received another Compasso d’Oro, an event that underscored its important role in the progress of Italian design, not least because it was the first time that the prize was not assigned to a single product or collection but to a company. The 1990s saw highly successful projects such as Harry
, two collections by Antonio Citterio. In the early 2000s the company started successful collaborations with Patricia Urquiola which yielded some of B&B Italia's most beautiful collections, for instance Tufty-Time
, and with Naoto Fukasawa who contributed to the catalogue with his Papilio
B&B Italia has always distinguished itself for the excellence and quality of its products both from an aesthetic and a functional point of view. For this very reason the company is a member of the Altagamma Foundation that gathers high-end italian cultural and creative companies, recognized globally as authentic ambassadors of Italian style.
B&B Italia and the concept of sustainability
"Products that are valuable in time", this has been the company's maxim for more than 40 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. The attention payed to industrial production processes is also reflected in an overall concept of sustainability. The exceptional durability allows for considerable savings in terms of materials, energy and CO2 emissions. Recycling and disposal processes have been optimized as well. The company's own center for research and development is constantly looking for new, innovative materials and production methods that are apt to minimize the environmental impact.