Patricia Urquiola’s projects always share on distinctive feature, that of making use of the imagination, evoking memories and atmospheres, suggesting a sense of grace and aesthetic lightness that triggers the mechanism of desire. Even when approaching the most technical, difficult purposes, Patricia – as everyone calls her, almost as if to speak the name of a passionate, sensitive way of doing design – manages to inject an element of femininity that makes the difference in the final result.

In the case of Butterfly, the new outdoor seating system by B&B Italia, the distinctive element links up with the spring, with open, flowering places, and the image of the flight of a butterfly. The outer corner joint between the armrest and the back, in fact, is based on the wings of this insect, to create this upholstered furniture specifically developed by the company for the outdoor sector.

The project updates a collaboration that has led to other outdoor icons, like the Crinoline armchair and the Canasta seats that reinterpret the theme of weaving. The former is inspired by the supports for the big skirts of the past, while the latter references the geometric design of Vienna straw, which the Spanish designer dilates in an innovative way. The new collection raises the research bar even further, because its goal is to bring the comfort and quality of the upholstered furnishings of B&B Italia, the market leader in this sector, into the great outdoors in an even more effective way.

It begins with a compositional principle: Butterfly is not just a divan, but a system of seating components developed starting with an ottoman, the basic piece, which combined with a back and/or armrests becomes a central or terminal element, to the right or to the left. The juxtaposition of these parts happens through a simple joining system, making it possible to create free and original configurations ranging from linear divans to corner compositions, from face-to-face solutions to lounge zones. Then come the technical and performance features.

The idea is to give an upholstered piece by B&B Italia an added value, that of also ‘living’ in the open air. This is why the in-house Research Center immediately decided to take advantage of the company’s production technology, using the same soft polyurethane foam that pads its sofas and focusing, for the covering, on a very substantial and materic fabric made of polypropylene with the same characteristics of breathing and image as indoor fabrics.

An exclusive material developed for the occasion, which B&B Italia has been able to utilize thanks to an innovative system of protection of the filler, wrapped in a waterproof sheath stitched with a technique used for sails, to guarantee a perfect waterproof seal. The soft, ample lines designed by Patricia Urquiola emphasize the idea of comfort that lies behind Butterfly. The armrest curves around the seat and curls to give form to the enveloping back.

The complements – low tables with round, square or rectangular forms, and a small end table – also stand out for a silhouette that follows the form of the upholstered pieces. They are made with a macro-weave of polyethylene fiber that wraps the aluminium structure: a sort of signature of the designer that also functions as a distinctive feature in Fat-Sofa Outdoor, the new outdoor version of the collection of indoor seating presented by B&B Italia in 2007, whose full, rounded volumes establish a new dialogue with the surroundings thanks to the play of full and open zones of the back.


Maddalena Padovani 


gallery gallery
The new outdoor version of the Fat-Sofa, whose woven back is made with polyethylene fiber wrapping a metal structure.