Nine to Know | Mario Bellini’s Defining Pieces

  • HERO IMAGE Courtesy of Space Furniture
  • PRODUCT EDITOR Brigitte Craig
  • WORDS Holly Beadle
  • We pay homage to Italian architect and designer Mario Bellini’s most influential pieces.

    The Detail pages inside our 47th issue put a lens on five famed designers and the products they’re known for. Mario Bellini was part of this lineup. In addition to designing several landmark buildings – including the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne – he has designed pieces for some of the world’s most well-known brands – including Flos, B&B Italia and Cassina. As far as vintage collectables go, Mario Bellini’s pieces are widely coveted – most originating from the 70s. At the same time, brands continue to reissue his pieces through a contemporary lens.

    This feature originally appeared in The Detail pages of est magazine issue 47: Creative State of Mind (pp. 202-213).

    Son Serra by BonVivant Concept, featuring the Camaleonda sofa designed by Mario Bellini for B&B Italia | Photography by Salva Lopez

    B&B Italia Camaleonda Sofa

    A testament to the timelessness of Mario Bellini’s pieces, the Camaleonda sofa, which he designed for B&B Italia in the early 70s, has sustained five decades of design history as a true icon. The essence of this sculptural modular sofa is reflected in its name, which combines the Italian words ‘camaleonte’, meaning ‘chameleon’, and ‘onda’, meaning ‘wave’. Now coming in a range of fabrics, from leather to sumptuous velvets, the Camaleonda has to be one of Mario’s most well-known – if not the most well-known – designs.

    Flos Chiara T Table Lamp

    Mario Bellini designed this lightweight, origami-like table lamp in the late 60s for Flos, who re-released it later in 2020 in a range of metallic finishes. Mario also designed a floor lamp in the same style.

    Kettal Il Colonnato Square Table

    Kettal have reproduced the Colonnato square table, initially designed in the late 70s by Mario Bellini,  in three different finishes: untreated teak, Minera stone and marble. Mario took inspiration from colonnades for the table’s design: ancient architectural structures made up of a long sequence of columns supporting the base of a roof structure (in this case, a table-top).

    Brionvega Totem Speaker

    For lovers of both design and music (although the two usually go hand-in-hand), the Totem speaker was designed in the early 70s by Mario Bellini for Brionvega. The speaker presents as an unassuming white cube before butterflying into a record player.

    Kartell Shanghai Vase

    Widening from the base to the top in a graceful swirling motion, the Shanghai vase, designed by Mario Bellini for Kartell, is made of either transparent glass or mass-coloured PMMA.

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