What we know about his life

Mario Bellini was born on February 1, 1935, in Milan.

He graduated from the Milan Polytechnic faculty of architecture in 1959.

During his studies, he meets, as his professors, among the others, Gio Ponti, Piero Portaluppi, and Ernesto Nathan Rogers.

After the university, he started working as an architect for himself in the early 1960s. His career as a product and furniture designer began in 1963.

He is the winner of 8 Compasso d’Oro prizes.

In addition to what he did until now, he worked as a design consultant with Renault for five years.

He designed furnishing products and systems for B&B Italia and Cassina, for Brionvega, and Yamaha.

Furthermore, In 1972 he was commissioned to design and build the prototype of the Kar-a-Sutra mobile environment for the exhibition “The New Domestic Landscape” at the MOMA in New York.

So, that is not all, he even designed for Fiat and Lancia, Erco and Flos, lamps for Artemide, and office furniture for Vitra.

Moreover, he designed products for Acerbis, Driade, Candy, Flou, Kartell, Meritalia, Natuzzi, and Poltrona Frau.

Furthermore, his international success grew mainly in the design sector and reached its peak in 1987 with a personal retrospective exhibition at the MoMA of New York.

At the time, the museum already included 25 of his works in its Permanent Collection, including among these works, aside from a series of Olivetti typewriters and calculators – the Programma 101 in 1965, first true personal computer in history – the furniture for Cassina and B&B – like the Cab chair and the innovative chairs and office furniture systems designed for Vitra.

In 1987, he established the MARIO BELLINI ASSOCIATI SRL, which became MARIO BELLINI ARCHITECTS, based in Milan.


Mario Bellini architect

Since the 80’s Mario Bellini has worked with growing success in architecture in Europe, Japan, United States, Australia, and the Arab Emirates. His architecture has received many important awards and recognitions and has been published by the most important international publications and inserted in the world’s most prestigious architecture and culture events.

Time to Japanese projects

In 1975, Mario Bellini designed the HP1 headphones for the Japanese company YAMAHA which were revolutionary.

After this partnership, he worked as a designer for various Japanese companies.

In 1980, this identification in the world of Japanese Design opened the door to a prosperous period of architectural projects:

  • the Tokyo Design Center (1988-1992)
  • the Yokohama Business Park (1987-1991)
  • the Risonare Vivre Club Complex in Kobuchizawa (1989-1992)
  • the Cassina Japan Showroom in Tokyo (1989-1990)
  • Headquarters for Arsoa Co. Cosmetics in Kobuchizawa (1996-1998).

Time to museum 

Mario Bellini, In 1996, won the competition for the renovation and expansion of the NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA, which is one of the historic buildings in MELBOURNE.

In 2003, he won the competition for the creation of the Museum of the City of Bologna.

The courtyard of the medieval palace is covered, and a glass tower is inserted, containing stairs and elevators, making it the center of the museum, around which everything winds.

In addition, in 2005, Mario Bellini with Rudy Ricciotti won the international competition for the construction of the new Pavilion for the Islamic Arts department. This was the first significant architectural intervention inside the LOUVRE MUSEUM after the PEI pyramid in 1989. 

Two relevant but not yet built museum projects should be named:

  • Grande Brera. International competition won in 2009 for the expansion of the PINACOTECA DI BRERA.
  • Antiquarium Museo del Foro Romano. Expansion and fitting out of the spaces of the Museo del Foro inside the ancient convent of SANTA FRANCESCA ROMANA.

His furniture is exciting, both in its use of the material as in the originality of his designs. Bellini did not believe in precise boundaries of design; instead, he designed for the relationship of man and environment.

It is impossible to pigeonhole Mario Bellini’s oeuvre, as his work is so complex and original.

Camaleonda Modular Sofa

Camaleonda is one of the most beautiful and famous pieces he created during his cooperation with B&B ITALIA. 

Mario Bellini designed this sofa after the success of the Amanta system.

Mario Bellini Brown Velvet Brown "Camaleonda" Lounge Chair + Pouf for B&B Italia, 1972

This sofa is very comfortable, and the fact this piece is modular provides flexible solutions for any living room.

The sinuous and soft curves of Camaleonda are elegant as well as its dimensions.

Thanks to the ample and comfortable upholstered seatings, made the comfort its main feature. 

One of these modules in white cotton or light blue could remind one big cloud.

This design became famous almost immediately after being featured in the exhibition’ Italy and The New Domestic Landscape’ in the MOMA Museum in 1972.

Mario Bellini Green Velvet "Camaleonda" Sofa for B&B Italia, 1972, Set of 10 Elements

Do you know “Le Bambole” ?

A piece not identical but acclaimed is the sofa well-known as Le Bambole that Mario Bellini won the Compasso d’oro in 1979.

That incredible creation with the big easy, and enjoyable pillow was designing a soft, chic, and simple line, very natural, to distinguish the frame that is so angular, vertical, and sour.

Mario Bellini Taupe "Le Bambole" 2 Seater Sofa for B&B Italia, 1976, Set of 2

“A perfect shape as defined by Mario Bellini himself, indefinable that nobody can imagine and create if not by the same process that generates it.”

As too much perfect that B&B, in 2007, gBellinilini the job to update and make the shape of the sofa “Le Bambole” more modern.

Bellini imagined this sofa to create something not destined to have a “short life” but more something able to pass through time and go above it, while time passed by under it, like a wind.

Mario Bellini, a Design Icon

There is someone that makes this through provocation, whBellinilini made it through professionalism and complexity.

Mario Bellini himself, during an interview, said: “Working with objects in the home is a very noble thing. It is for me nobler to build a chair than a skyscraper”.

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