'I didn't want to create something just to sit on a coffee table. It is a reflection on the many different elements that help explain how B&B Italia sustained its contemporary identity,’ says the Milan-based editor Stefano Casciani of the epic tome he co-curated with Italian architect Paola Bellani to mark the 50th anniversary of the Italian furniture powerhouse.
The beautifully executed 360-page book, divided into four hefty chapters with elegant graphics by Pitis e Associati, is aimed at a wide audience, from architects to design enthusiasts, chronicling how the cultural context of the day inspired entrepreneurial founder Piero Ambrogio Busnelli’s strategy of combining innovation, technology and communication with style and design.
‘He was constantly looking forward to what was coming next, so in creating the book we wanted it to be a tool for people interested in design and wanting to understand how industrial production of contemporary furniture works,’ Casciani explains.
The book also offers an in-depth study and visual feast for fans of B&B Italia’s most iconic works, from the 'Le Bambole' sofa by Mario Bellini to the 'Grande Papilio' armchair by Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa. Much of the material is drawn from the company’s extensive (and often previously unseen) archives and includes intriguing personal design insights from some of the renowned designers it commissioned.
B&B Italia’s campus (home to the company’s first factory, designed by Afra and Tobia Scarpa) and its Renzo Piano-designed headquarters (illustrated by architecture photographer Iwan Baan’s striking images) offers an unusual behind-the-scenes glimpse of the production process.
The final chapter concludes with a salutary lesson in the visual narrative of design, exploring the company’s famed visual communication, from controversial photography to the company’s stores around the world.
The book is currently available in Italian and English versions from the B&B Italia store in Milan and will be available in bookstores worldwide from this September.