Today led by Elia Bonacina, the fourth generation of the family, the company maintains a profound respect for the past and the legacy of Bonacina, as demonstrated by the Museum Gallery Garden opened in 2023. And it continues its growth path by investing in new projects and collaborations, innovating in products and materials

It was rush, a then little-known natural material imported from South-East Asia, that inspired Giovanni Bonacina when he started his own business in Lurago in 1889 d'Erba, near Como.

Since the beginning, Bonacina has stood out for its way of thinking outside the box, taken up by subsequent generations who, each adding their own personal vision, have been able to grow the brand.

The three collections - Grandi Maestri, Decor and Contemporanei, both indoor and outdoor - are the reflection of the eclecticism of the brand.

Grandi Maestri presents iconic pieces created starting from the 1950s with the protagonists of Italian design including Franco Albini, Gio Ponti, Franca Helg, Marco Zanuso, Joe Colombo and Tito Agnoli, just to name a few.

Decor is the result of the long collaboration between Mario Bonacina (third generation, starting from the 70s) and designers such as Renzo Mongiardino, Gae Aulenti and Mattia Bonetti.

The Contemporanei collection includes pieces designed by Piero Lissoni, Clementine Chambon, Marco Zanuso Jr, Tomoko Mizu.

Bonacina 1889 was born in 2015, under the guidance of Elia and Margherita - the fourth generation - from the acquisition of Pierantonio Bonacina by Vittorio Bonacina, giving life to a brand which, on its 135th birthday has in catalog over 150 products created by more than 50 designers and, since 2022, it has been included in the three areas (Environmental, Social and Governance) of the Cerved Rating Agency Sustainability Report's ESG Report thanks to its low impact products, to artisanal working techniques and circular economy operations.

The new materials

For 135 years, each piece has been made in Italy by artisans who shape the rush, bend the reeds, weave the pith threads.

The processing has a low environmental impact because the cane is used entirely, from the bark to the internal part, reducing waste to a minimum.

For the outdoor collection, new materials are used: Polypeel & Polycore and PaperStone. The former are dyed synthetic fibers derived from polyethylene that are resistant to UV rays and atmospheric agents. Durable and recyclable, they do not absorb sunscreens or oils and are washable with water and neutral/non-abrasive soap.

PaperStone® is produced with 100% recycled FSC certified paper, free of toxic substances and designed in compliance with the principles of the circular economy. Pleasant and velvety to the touch, it is resistant and water-repellent.

The contribution of the fourth generation

We asked Elia Bonacina for his point of view as a representative of the fourth generation and the programs for the 135th anniversary celebrations.
“The contribution of the fourth generation has proved crucial in solving one of the main problems of our country: generational change. It is a fact that around 80% of Italian companies are led by top figures with an average age of 85, such as CEOs and presidents.

In Bonacina, the previous generation was able to recognize the importance of this change. Thanks to their openness, I had the opportunity to bring a fresh and innovative vision to the company, recording an increase in turnover of +1,159% and profit of +4,607% from 2012 to today .
I transformed Bonacina, a historic company, into a sort of start-up, revolutionizing every aspect, from the internal management practices of orders, personnel, purchasing and sales, up to marketing, design and choice of colours.

Personally, I firmly believe in the value of generational change and believe that it is essential to adapt to an increasingly fast market, where young people are fundamental in guiding us towards the future.

We have also revolutionized the distribution method of our products, differentiating ourselves from the traditional model of design companies that rely on retailers. Bonacina now counts on an internal team of sales managers who interact directly with customers, creating a personalized experience similar to that of a jewelry store.

This allows us to maintain high brand awareness and guarantee the highest quality of the product and customer experience.

Despite our push towards the future, we always maintain a deep respect for the past and the Bonacina legacy, as demonstrated by the opening of our Corporate Museum in 2023.

Our generational change has not ignored the roots, but has reinterpreted them in a fresh and modern perspective. In the design sector, renewal may be slower due to the lack of young, creative leadership ready to chart future directions.”

How do you celebrate the 135th anniversary?

“We are preparing a special celebration for our 135th anniversary, with a series of unmissable events. In the foreground, a Gala Dinner which will welcome over 200 guests, including our most prestigious clients, renowned designers and other leading figures in the sector.

Among our most interesting initiatives, there is an extraordinary collaboration with Serapian, a historic fashion company specialized in the creation of woven leather bags. Together, we are combining our tradition of working with natural wicker with their skill in leather weaving, creating a matryoshka of trays and pocket trays.

We will present a new version of the famous Spiaggina, an iconic car loved by Gianni Agnelli. Thanks to the collaboration with Garage Italia, it was electrified and the seats were woven in wicker. It is a perfect example of how our generational change has brought a piece of the past directly into the present.

At the Triennale, during the Salone Satellite, we will present Helium, a lamp also designed for outdoor spaces designed in collaboration with the designer Mark Braun.

And we couldn't be happier to present our collection at Dimorestudio at DimoreCentrale, where we will show a fascinating display that includes the wonderful Altai carpets”.