Design

B&B Italia: 50 Years of Design

A new documentary offers a unique insight into B&B Italia’s history, design methods and architectural collaborators  
 
Established by Piero Ambrosia Busnelli in 1966, B&B Italia has surpassed 50 years in design innovation. The company’s dedication to creativity and technology has allowed it to become a leader of modern furniture, while its capacity to predict trends and respond to changes in taste and living has resulted in furniture collections that epitomise important phases in design history. Although Piero Ambrogio Busnelli died in 2014 aged 87, his legacy lives on through his son Giorgio Busnelli and grandchildren who now work within the company. 
 
A new documentary by film-maker and writer Didi Gnocchi is a rare and personal glimpse in to the vision of Piero Ambrogio Busnelli, tied together with photographs and interviews with influential designers and architects such as Renzo Piano, Mario Bellini, Antonio Citterio, Vincent Van Dyson and even Deyan Sudjic, director of the Design Museum in London. The documentary unpacks B&B Italia’s 50-year legacy, and explores the past, present and future of the company and its collaborators.
 
Gnocchi has always been curious about the vision of designers but does not come from a design background; she spent most of her life as a journalist. Her media production company– 3D Produzioni– has been researching design, architecture and history for many years, building relationships with designers and architects all over the world. During the research process, Gnocchi browsed not only through B&B Italia’s archives, but through her own. ‘We filed a lot of material in our archives that turned out to be useful to give a better context to the years when the company was first set up, and how it later grew in relation to Italy,’ she says.  ‘Everyone was very pleased to tell us about their relationship with B&B Italia, especially with their new Research Centre which they all said is a worldwide milestone.’
 
B&B Italia: Poetry in the Shape, When Design Meets Industry is available to stream via the B&B Italia website from 13 April