Iconic, timeless, enchanting and constantly more sustainable, the Le Bambole designed by Mario Bellini for B&B Italia are celebrating their 50th birthday in a revamped outfit. With the same design but with new features, this time it is even more comfortable and eco-friendly.
If the 1970s were marked by women’s liberation and cultural and social movements which brought about concrete results like the right to a family, daycare, counseling, divorce and abortion, our century is instead giving greater attention to the environment, the circular economy, and all-round wellness which especially considers the planet. And the Le Bambole, then as now, are promoters of this message.
In fact, in 1972, the Le Bambole broke into the market as a symbol of female emancipation, paying homage to the sinuous curves of women’s bodies, their softness and intrinsic strength. They immediately became objects in the collective imagination and milestones in the history of design.
Those large cushions which seemed to be casually combined and sustained by a metallic skeleton and padded by polyurethane and upholstered by an elastic fabric were not only the stars of a unprecedented ad campaign (created by Oliviero Toscani who photographed the model Donna Jordan laughing and dancing topless), but also the winners of the Compasso d’Oro in 1979.
The collection designed by Mario Bellini for B&B Italia (back then known as C&B) revolutionized the concept of comfort with its informal roundness, marking a point of no return for aesthetics, communication and production techniques. There is no doubt that this design made communication and design history.
A constant presence in the company’s catalog, the Le Bambole collection has undergone various reworkings over the years and today, 50 years since its creation, B&B Italia is focusing on a new production technique to dust off its original “appeal, sumptuous floridity and softness,” as stated by Mario Bellini. “I feel the pleasure of revisiting this family again, because it shows me that it is anything but aged; on the contrary, it is enjoying a thriving and promising second life, a rebirth done in a big way, with enthusiasm, with breadth, with decorations and with the original flourishes”.
Now, alongside the Bambola armchair, sofa, the two-seater Bibambola, the Bamboletto bed, there is the Granbambola three-seater sofa which is made to serve the needs of contemporary comfort even better with its extra-large seating. In fact, comfort is the key element to the project. Today’s softness is guaranteed by a series of construction measures despite the minimum amount of polyurethane which gets used. Now, next-generation materials are being chosen which consider the environment: starting from the recycled polyethylene which provides structure together with the polyurethane foam and thermoplastic elastomers which define the geometry and breathability sheathed by an undercover derived from recycled PET.
It is a choice aiming at sustainability, as can demonstrated by the fact that each piece of the collection can be completely disassembled to ease recycling. Finishing off the Le Bambole’s look there is a new sablè (Sila) fabric in eight colors. “The variation of this fabric, when in contact with your hands, your arms, your body, empathizes with your skin and is extremely pleasant,” stated Bellini. Its irregular and three-dimensional texture masks the orthogonal effect of warp and weft, adding even more natural and enveloping softness.
The other new fabric is Manila. This limited-edition floral print with a humorous and dreamy look and large roses on a black and white base gives the Le Bambole an unexpected look. Finally, to conclude this 50-year celebration, it could not go without a version in fine Kasia full-grain leather which, with its natural imperfections, makes Le Bambole once again an iconic and exclusive design collection.
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