Bambole Sofa / Lounge Chair by Mario Bellini for B&B Italia, 1980s
About the Item
- Creator:B&B Italia (Maker),Mario Bellini (Designer)
- Dimensions:Height: 28.35 in (72 cm)Width: 70.87 in (180 cm)Depth: 31.5 in (80 cm)
- Sold As:Set of 2
- Style:Mid-Century Modern (Of the Period)
- Materials and Techniques:
- Place of Origin:
- Date of Manufacture:1980s
- Condition:Reupholstered. Wear consistent with age and use.
- Seller Location:Renens, CH
- Reference Number:1stDibs: LU5599232660802
Milan-born architect and designer Mario Bellini just may be the closest thing to a modern-day Renaissance man: His creative output spans genres, from electronics to furniture to architecture to cars, comprising iconic designs in each. He has been the recipient of multiple prestigious Compasso d’Oro design awards, and more than 20 of his works are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
Born in 1935, Bellini studied architecture at the Polytechnic University of Milan before founding his own firm in his native city in the early 1960s. He soon branched out beyond architecture, however, first for the tech manufacturer Olivetti, where he served as chief industrial design consultant from 1963 to 1991. During that time, Bellini oversaw the design of some of Olivetti’s most popular typewriters.
His penchant for electronic design didn’t stop there: Bellini also designed cameras for Fuji, televisions for Brionvega and a slew of audio devices for Yamaha, then served as design consultant for Renault and devised the interior of the 1980 Lancia Trevi for Fiat. Meanwhile, his architecture work spans continents, including such modern gems as the Museum of Islamic Arts at the Louvre, the National Gallery of Victoria extension in Melbourne, the Dubai Creek Complex and the Milan Convention Centre in his hometown.
And then there’s the furniture: Over the last 70 years, Bellini has designed office furniture for Vitra; lamps for Artemide, Erco and FLOS; porcelain for Rosenthal and long-admired sofas and other seating for Kartell, Natuzzi, B&B Italia, Cassina and more.
His oft-imitated 1977 Cab chair for Cassina, comprising 16 individual pieces of saddle leather that create a “skin” over a minimal metal frame, remains one of the manufacturer’s best sellers today. His pudgy-legged, round tables for Cassina foreshadow Faye Toogood’s widely loved Roly Poly line. His postmodern Summa armchairs for Kartell, as well as his elegant Chiara floor lamp, still lure collectors on vintage furniture websites.
Bellini’s most famous contribution to furniture design, though, may be his 1970 Camaleonda sofa for B&B Italia (then C&B Italia). An entrant to the 1972 MoMA show “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape,” the seat takes its name from the Italian words for chameleon and wave. Its bulbous, modular form makes it infinitely flexible. The sofa was a runaway hit at the show and, once discontinued, remained so popular among vintage dealers that B&B Italia reissued it in 2020 with all recycled materials and interchangeable seat covers. “Of all the objects I have designed, Camaleonda is perhaps the best in terms of its sense of freedom,” Bellini said.
Browse an expansive collection of Mario Bellini furniture — including dining tables, armchairs, mid-century sofas and more — today on 1stDibs.
In 1966, Piero Ambrogio Busnelli cofounded C&B Italia, a modern Italian furniture manufacturer, with Cesare Cassina in northern Milan. From the outset, Busnelli and Cassina set about recruiting the most talented modernists in Italy to conceive of creative furnishings manufactured in modern ways. In the early 1970s, the company split, with Cassina founding his own eponymous firm and Busnelli taking leadership of what became B&B Italia.
For decades, Busnelli cultivated relationships with the world’s best design talent, resulting in furniture pieces that remain iconic today — be they Gaetano Pesce’s outwardly curvaceous Up seating (made for C&B, reintroduced by B&B) or tables from industrial designer Paolo Piva, each more sophisticated than the next in their geometrically complex steel-tube bases. B&B Italia earned four prestigious Compasso d’Oro design awards: in 1979 for Mario Bellini’s Le Bambole, in 1984 for the Sisamo wardrobe system by Studio Kairos, in 1987 for Antonio Citterio’s modular Sity sofa and, in 1989, the first award given to a manufacturing company itself.
Other notable names who designed for B&B Italia over the course of its 54-year history include Patricia Urquiola, Naoto Fukasawa, Zaha Hadid, Ettore Sottsass and Vincent Van Duysen, to name a very few. And while these names bring star power to the B&B brand, in many cases, it was B&B Italia who helped usher in their celebrity, fostering a wave of design talent on the world stage.
The company’s forward-thinking vision manifested in its own headquarters, too: In 1972, B&B Italia tapped architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers to design a steel-framed, postmodern-style home for the brand, whose crisscrossing metal exoskeleton is reminiscent of the pair’s Centre Pompidou in Paris, which was built at roughly the same time. Now, B&B Italia manages a contract division and outdoor section as well as its residential arm, and it also controls production for Maxalto, a brand spun out with furniture designs by Antonio Citterio.
At 1stDibs, find a range of vintage B&B Italia furniture — including sofas, cocktail tables and more.
Shipping & Returns
- ShippingRetrieving quote...Ships From: La Sarraz, Switzerland
- Return Policy
A return for this item may be initiated within 3 days of delivery.
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