Zanellato/Bortotto revisit a Bolzan classic by recovering techniques and fabrics from the last century. And putting heritage and environmental vocation at the forefront

As in the best Made in Italy tradition, manufacturing and industrial approach have always coexisted in the Bolzan catalogue, a sleep atelier with firm roots in the North East, capable of transforming a bed into a choral tale whose protagonists are the historical workers of a short supply chain, often at 0 km.

Design re-edition

This also happens with Bend-e, the most recent creation in the Bolzan world, a bed signed by Zanellato/Bortotto and characterised by a strong craftsmanship matrix: a creation that brings the ancient workmanship of forged iron into the world of design and enhances it with the fabric of a manufacture with a century-long history. But let's start at the beginning. Bend-e is the re-edition of Bend, a classic from the Bolzan catalogue with contemporary forms, a bed where the headboard and footboard form a single body, padded and upholstered in fabric, which runs along the frame and rests on painted metal legs.

The manual techniques of forging

The idea behind the re-edition is the same one that has driven the company and the designers to revisit the catalogue since last year in order to make it (also) a tale of the territory, a way of bringing to the fore partner companies and manufactures with a tradition devoted to quality and respect for the environment. Each element of the bed in fact derives from the contribution of a manufacture that Bolzan has chosen precisely because of its commitment to the Earth and the territory, the same commitment that drives the Treviso-based company towards sustainable practices and processes every day. Bend-e transforms the painted metal structure of the original version into a craftsmanship that recovers the most ancient manual techniques of forging, the same ones that the industrial approach then pushed aside during the last century.

The recovery of tradition

"The original project," explain Giorgia Zanellato and Daniele Bortotto, "was born taking inspiration from furniture of the past made of forged iron, whose shapes and curves were obtained by handwork directly on the material. Industrial evolution then ended up pushing forged iron away from design, which was relegated to the production of traditional furniture with distinctly decorative characteristics, including beds. This is why we wanted to draw on that ancient imagery and rework it into a contemporary product, combining a traditional manual art with a design product'. The recovery of tradition prompted Zanellato/Bortotto to investigate possible colourings by choosing natural pigmented waxes applied manually on iron, a further moment in a process inspired by classical craft techniques.

Italian textile design

The investigation into the short supply chain then led the designers to Torri Lana, the natural fabric factory in the Bergamo area, a reference point for architects and designers since the middle of the last century, with which Bolzan began a collaboration in 2022, once again directed by Zanellato/Bortotto. This meeting led the designers to explore for the Treviso-based company the immense Torri Lana archive that chronicles the evolution of Italian textile design over more than a century. The fabric chosen for Bend-e, Filled, is in fact a cotton and wool composition designed in the 1980s by Jole Gandolini and used, over time, for international fittings and furnishings signed by great masters. Filled from over 500,000 samples in the Torri Lana archive, Filled has been revisited for Bolzan in five colours that perpetuate and update a chapter in the history of Made in Italy creativity.

Material and chromatic compositions

"Investigating the Torri Lana archive allowed us to discover fabrics that were designed decades ago and that over time have dressed some historical pieces of Italian design," explain Zanellato/Bortotto. "We then selected one of these designs and worked to rework it with contemporary material and colour compositions". Bend-e is a new chapter in the long tale of the territory in the form of design that is the Bolzan catalogue.