Posts tagged #Italian Mid Century

Italy has a new museum: The Museum of 20th Century Italian Design

A new permanent collection opened it’s doors in Milan. Italy has finally it’s own museum of Italian Design. It seemed odd for a country whose creativity and mission to make beautiful things that were also functional and accessible to the average person and simplified the life of millions of people in the past 70 years did not have a proper representation. It is important for Mid Century dealers like us to have a place to gather, to research, to discover and maybe that place is shaping up right in our country. 

Today we can all admire the most representative works of Mid Century Italian design at the Triennale Museum in Milan, a permanent exhibition showcasing objects designed between the 1940s and the 1980s by the biggest Italian architects of the period. The selection includes furniture, household appliances, and small objects from the 20th Century, products made for every day use, and it represents only a small fraction of the 1600 pieces owned by the Triennale Milan.

The Italian Design Museum debuted on the occasion of Milano Design Week 2019. The project has been developed by  Stefano Boeri, President of the Triennale Milano under the artistic direction of Joseph Grima, and it is housed in the ground floor. We can’t wait to see it growing even more, as President Mr Boeri said the Triennale Museum's goal is to become “the leading international centre dedicated to Italian Deisign”. Whether it will be centered on Mid Century or Modern Design, we are very excited about the future. 20th Century Design deserves to play a major role considering its’ comeback and it’s easy integration with modern design, yet after more than 50 years has passed. 

This exhibition, is like a time capsule through objects which some might recognize as familiar, we picked quite a few we could have had at home at a certain point in our life. The memories are brought back through the objects themselves and through several supporting media such as old catalogs and paper ads; Furthermore, you can hear directly from the designers voices the ideas behind most objects; they will talk to the audience through ‘Grillo’ telephones (designed in 1965 by Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper), if you can still remember how to dia the numbers! 

Through this exhibition you can really walk through time and see how differen materials and designs changed through the years, you can also discover the intimate relationship theses 20th Century designers shared with their products and their sponsors, the difficult tasks they had to overcome through a series of highs and lows and rights and wrongs, and you can finally smile looking at the finished products proudly showcased on the page of a design magazine of that period.   

Triennale Milano is housed by Palazzo dell’Arte in Viale Emilio Alemagna no. 6  You can find all of the information by visiting their website at 

Le Bambole Sofa by Mario Bellini for B&B Italia


Le Bambole is a true icon of the 1970s design scene, it was designed by Mario Bellini at the beginning of the 1970s and won the prestigious design award ‘Compasso d’Oro’ in 1979. The idea behind the project was to create a seating solution where the cushions and the fabric played a major role almost eliminating the feeling the sofa actually had a supporting inner structure; it is all about the cushioning and the fabric, the softness hidden in every angle, as Mario Bellini said, it is like sitting on a three-dimensional big pillow. An important part of the success of this sofa was its marketing campaign. Piero Busnelli, founder of B&B Italia hired photographer Oliviero Toscani to create the campaign and the result was provocative and to the point. Model Donna Jordan, muse of Andy Warhol is photographed topless and in a series of trasgressive poses which at a point were censured and deemed too provocative for the audience. This contributes to the buzz and the success of this amazing product which is still in production today. ,

Le Bambole sofa marketing campaign. The ad emphasizes how a person can indulge into the sofa, abandoning every tension and enjoy the sofa in any possible position because the sofa will embrace you with tenderness and comfort.

Le Bambole sofa marketing campaign. The ad emphasizes how a person can indulge into the sofa, abandoning every tension and enjoy the sofa in any possible position because the sofa will embrace you with tenderness and comfort.


Designitalia outsources original and authentic Bambole Sofas from Italy and through a professional restorer bring them back to life. If you are looking for a Mario Bellini sofa contact our customer service specialist and check the current availability. You have to chance to find authentic Tribambola sofas which is a large version seater of the Bambole collection, the more versatile Bibambola sofas which is the medium size seater perfect for any living room size, armchairs and Bamboletto.

Current Mario Bellini ‘Le Bambole’ collection offering

Mario Bellini Le Bambole Sofa 1980s Restored

Two Marion Bellini "Le Bambole" sofas in medium sizes available, completely restored with Italian 100% cotton velvet, restored inside and outside by a professional Italian restorer. Very iconic design from the 70s and 80s designed by Mario Bellini for B&B Italia. Approximate size for each sofa 67" W, 34" D, 29" H.

Bamboletto seating by Mario Bellini for B&B Italian 1980s

Bamboletto daybed - dormeuse from the 'Le Bambole' collection design Mario Bellini for B&B Italia. Originally conceived as a bed, this item can be used as daybed or dormeuse or large sofa in a large living room. It will be fully recovered with pure aniline highest quality leather available in different colors, or velvet. You can choose your preferred color either in velvet upholstery or leather upholstery. This item will look perfect in a large living room, an Industrial loft, a Mid-Century Modern home or as a second occasional bed, although the best use will be a large lounging designer piece.


A new different way to purchase our Italian Mid Century furniture collection

Explore a new concept of purchasing high end quality furniture, shop our Italian Mid Century modern design products on 1stdibs.


We have partnered with luxury online marketplace 1stdibs to bring our products to collectors and design professionals and general consumers worldwide. The site offers a curated selection of high end and hard to get around products, from antiques to vintage furniture and fashion to fine art. Our Italian Mid Century collection of furniture ranges from sofas and armchairs to dining tables, case pieces, and decor items. 


We import authentic and original Italian 20th Century modern design, artworks by Paolo Buffa, Osvaldo Borsani, Marco Zanuso, Gio Ponti, Massimo Vignelli and many more. You can browse our collection of 20th Century design sofas, chairs, storage and case pieces and accessories through our website or by looking for Designitalia Mid Century Modern on 1stdibs.  


Mid Century modern Italian design: The master supremacy of Italy's creations.

A talk with our senior purchasing manager about love, history and beauty of Italian Design.


In the course of my career I often find myself answering the same recurring question from my customers- how is it possible that Italians are so great in making amazing furniture? We all know Italian design and creativity is known worldwide but still most people can’t come to terms with this sort of supremacy. I often thought of a simple way to explain this very thin line between beauty and functionality which Italians are able to master at their best.

 The most simple product may be functional but not necessarily meet that aesthetic taste most people seek. Italian design is able to immediately come to terms with these two important factors and blend them effortlessly almost in a seamless way.  There is an explanation, after all, and it is found in the history of our country, Italy, a history which goes way back and prior to the birth of Jesus Christ. 

Like music and art, Italian design has centuries old deep historical and social roots. Italians have lived in a country where everything was already established, constructed and built over the ages and therefore our approach to construction and, more specifically, function was not a prisoner of bare-bone necessity.  Instead, it had latitude and an allowance to be driven by passion for a sense of aesthetic where “beauty” could be reached by going beyond the daily humdrum and routine.  Let’s just think for a moment: since centuries Italians have been educated in aesthetics. They lived in a country where roads were already there, and bridges, aqueducts, big buildings, theaters, museums. Our predecessors built all of those with the intention for us to use them, and thankfully most of them are still in use nowadays. In our history, the great Papacies were funding big public and private works and the wealthy families where hiring sculptors, painters, and artists to embellish their castles and their cities and public spaces. These artists not only exploited aesthetical boundaries but bound them with a sense of functionality that our predecessors, the Romans, already refined.  This is why we have this sense of beauty in our background because we live in it, daily. It’s like having a piano teacher father and an opera singer mother and end up making music the purpose of your life. It’s the country itself, Italy, to make Italians a country of builders and visionaries. Think about this country and its natural wonders, a country which lacks in oil or coal but has always been rich in marbles and travertine natural materials which are perfect for constructions. And think about its landscapes, which are the canvas for magnificent inspiration by the most acclaimed international artists of all times.  

It is with this backdrop that we can come to better understand the roots of the post war mid century Italian design.  A credenza was not just a box to hold dishes and similarly, a sofa was not just a few cushions and a wood frame on which to sit. They had to be more, they had to tell a story, they had to embellish and accentuate the surrounding environment or, at times, they just had to float and disappear into that environment but, above all, they had to be pieces of art standing on their own right. At the root of this focus on form was the fact that most post-war designers were architects by training or highly specialized artisans and craftsmen.  In some cases these designers were cross fertilizing design innovations across industries – be that the automobile industry, furnishings, appliances, graphics etc.   So the end result of this cross fertilization and emphasis on design was the advent of the ‘Made in Italy’ label reflecting a centuries old cultural emphasis on design and quality across multiple products. Unfortunately with the advent of globalization, mass production and the constant search for production efficiencies a lot of this has been lost over the years.  Even Italy and its culture is subject to these new realities, but for those of us who have an admiration for the creative spirit of those times,  the products of Buffa, Ponti, Borsani, Zanuso, Vignellis, are magnificent standard bearers of the true essence of ‘Made in Italy’.