As B&B Italia's iconic Le Bambole furniture range turns 50, the Italian brand rereleases the updated collection, with a contemporary focus on sustainability and materiality.

B&B Italia’s Le Bambola series captured a new desire for interior informality when released in 1972. In its 50th year, the series by Mario Bellini has been updated for the modern age

An icon reborn and remastered, B&B Italia’s Le Bambole at 50 | News

B&B Italia’s Le Bambola series captured a new desire for interior informality when released in 1972. In its 50th year, the series by Mario Bellini has been updated for the modern age

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A design icon becomes one for its ability to capture a moment in time. In 1972, B&B Italia’s Le Bambole, designed by Mario Bellini, launched as a revolutionary set of plush, curved, upholstered armchairs, sofas and beds. The bountiful forms captured a new desire for interior informality – a response to the emancipation of women socially in Italy, as a result of tireless protesting in the 60s and 70s for maternity, divorce and abortion rights. Offering reciprocal freedom for interior space, Le Bambole’s solid interior metal frame and generous polyurethane padding – for which B&B Italia is renowned – provided the ultimate elasticity, support and comfort, qualities for which it won the Compasso d'Oro in 1979.


'I feel the pleasure of revisiting this family again, because it confirms to me that it is anything but aged; on the contrary, it is enjoying a thriving and promising second life…' Mario Bellini


After all, it can also be argued that a design icon only acquires such status for its ability to endure. In the case of Le Bambole, it became firmly implanted in visual design culture with its powerful advertising campaign shot by Oliviero Toscani, featuring model Donna Jordan (a regular at Andy Warhol’s Factory) joyfully interacting with the furniture nude – so bold for its time that it was censored from the 1972 Salone del Mobile.

While retaining the seats’ iconic shape and vibrancy, Le Bambola’s updates make it even more comfortable and sustainable

An icon reborn and remastered, B&B Italia’s Le Bambole at 50 | News

While retaining the seats’ iconic shape and vibrancy, Le Bambola’s updates make it even more comfortable and sustainable

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An icon reborn

With that in mind, how does a design icon continue to keep up with progressive developments of design today – such as technology and sustainability? While throughout the collection's history, Le Bambole has seen slight adaptations in shape, this year in 2022 on its 50th anniversary, Mario Bellini and B&B Italia have relaunched Le Bambole in a radically renewed version, all the while maintaining its original iconic integrity. Concerned with shape and materiality, the updates make Le Bambole even more comfortable, increasingly sustainable, and more contemporary.

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The latest material innovations mean the renewed Bambola collection features improved comfort, breathability and shape

An icon reborn and remastered, B&B Italia’s Le Bambole at 50 | News

The latest material innovations mean the renewed Bambola collection features improved comfort, breathability and shape

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Still under the stewardship of Bellini – who has witnessed continued social revolution, as well as that of design, materials and technology, the renewal of Le Bambole represents the importance that history and contemporary design co-exist and learn from each other, combining endurance with the intelligence of today: 'I feel the pleasure of revisiting this family again, because it confirms to 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, done with enthusiasm, with breadth, with decorations and with the original flourishes. We have recovered its charm, its sumptuous floridity, its softness,' says Bellini.

The version of the Bambola armchair in Manila fabric can be ordered exclusively through the Direct to Consumer channels (e-Commerce, Monobrand and Flagship Stores)

An icon reborn and remastered, B&B Italia’s Le Bambole at 50 | News

The version of the Bambola armchair in Manila fabric can be ordered exclusively through the Direct to Consumer channels (e-Commerce, Monobrand and Flagship Stores)

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Timeless contemporaneity

The 50th anniversary revamp features edits to the Bambole armchair, the Bibambola two-seater sofa and the Bamboletto double bed. Plus, the Granbambola three-seater sofa has been reintroduced into the catalogue with a deeper seat, for even more softness and comfort – a speciality of B&B Italia that is subject to continual innovation. The pieces can be combined together for an impactful large scale interior, or can perform as statement pieces in smaller scale interiors.

Sustainability has been considered in materials and construction. The latest generation materials that improve comfort, breathability and shape include recycled polyethylene, polyurethane foam and thermoplastic elastomers, all sheathed by an undercover derived from recycled PET. And while Le Bambole is leaner, with less material now required for the improved level of comfort, it still maintains its maximalist personality for which it is so admired. The considered furniture construction means that every item in the collection can be completely disassembled and therefore easily recycled.

The Granbambola three-seater sofa has been reintroduced into the collection with a deeper seat, for more softness and comfort

An icon reborn and remastered, B&B Italia’s Le Bambole at 50 | News

The Granbambola three-seater sofa has been reintroduced into the collection with a deeper seat, for more softness and comfort

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Le Bambole’s contemporary identity is visually marked by B&B Italia’s new selection of coverings. The naturally marked full-grain leather, Kasia, is extremely soft. While a new sablé fabric, Sila, brings a new texture to Le Bambole with a softly three-dimensional orthogonal warp and weft, available in eight brand new colours all reflective of the original eclectic ‘70s spirit. The Sila fabric is evocative of nature, and finds its own contemporary connection to the human body: 'The variation of this fabric, when in contact with your hands, your arms, your body, empathises with your skin and is extremely pleasant,' says Bellini.

The rest of the collection includes, along with the the Granbambola three-seater and the Bambola armchair and Bibambola two-seater sofa, pictured here, the Bamboletto double bed

An icon reborn and remastered, B&B Italia’s Le Bambole at 50 | News

The rest of the collection includes, along with the the Granbambola three-seater and the Bambola armchair and Bibambola two-seater sofa, pictured here, the Bamboletto double bed

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Yet what would a 50th anniversary be without a celebratory statement? The boldest new covering for Le Bambole is the limited edition Manila fabric – a dreamy and humorous floral print characterised by large roses on a white or black base – showing how an icon can combine endurance, innovation and character.

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