B&B Italia, one of the world’s most innovative and creatively dynamic Italian furniture brands celebrates its 50th birthday this year. Here are five interesting facts about the company, and our favourite designs from the archive
1 The company was originally called C&B Italia, the initials of its founder Piero Busnelli and Cesare Cassina, who joined the company in 1966. When Busnelli bought out Cassina in 1973, he renamed the company B&B Italia
2 Busnelli hired Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano to design the firm’s headquarters – a glass box suspended from a steel frame. It’s seen as a blueprint for the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
3 One of the company’s most innovative ideas is Gaetano Pesce’s ‘Up’ furniture (1969). Made of foam encased in an elastic fabric, it was delivered vacuum-packed and inflated on opening – hence the name ‘Up’.
4 Key to the brand’s success has been its bold marketing. The poster campaign for Mario Bellini’s ‘Le Bambole’ collection showed a bare-breasted Donna Jordan – sassy model and Andy Warhol ‘superstar’.
5 Since 1966, the company has produced over 1,000 designs (including prototypes). Today, B&B Italia has eight flagship stores and 36 other stores around the world. Over three per cent of its sales is invested into research and development of new products.