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On the launch of B&B Italia's new design destination in Dubai
Words by Aneesha Rai in Design & Architecture · Oct 17th, 2021
We chat with Gilberto Negrini, CEO of B&B Italia & Mohammed BinHendi, Deputy Chairman of BinHendi Enterprises on the launch of B&B Italia's new design destination in Dubai and plans for the brand.
Gilberto: Having a B&B Italia store in Dubai is very important for us; first of all because Dubai is an important design hub and that we are happy to be continuing to work with our partner Bin Hendi Enterprises from 15-20 years now. The space is lovely enough to showcase the collection from both B&B Italia and Maxalto. We do have a lot of brands under Design Holding and a lot of products to showcase, and so we did invest a lot of our energy, time and money with our partners to create the right showroom and the right service.
Q: How has the brand evolved over the past year?
Gilberto: Well, if you go back to March 2020 at the outset of the pandemic, everybody was very concerned about the future because nobody knew exactly what could happen. Two months into lockdown, we actually experienced an increase in demand, because people started to understand the importance of the house and how important design is in the environment of one's home. This was when we launched the Camaleonda sofa designed by Mario Bellini. The sofa was originally produced in the 1970s and has been reproduced, with only the padding changed to make way for sustainability. It has been thoroughly updated by the B&B Italia’s Research & Development Centre, making it even more comfortable than the original version. I wondered how people would react if they couldn't try the product, but given the situation, we saw that people wanted to live in a different way. I think combining nostalgic value, the legacy of our brand and our clients made it the perfect recipe for a launch during 2020. We also launched the Noonu sofa by Antonio Citterio through a webinar and it has received great results.
I am also the Vice President of Design Holding, which has a host of other brands including Flos, Louis Poulsen and more. We think that this company can offer something special to the market - which is why we launched the D Studio Copenhagen, the first multibrand store by Design Holding. Our strategy is to focus purely on design and to approach it in a modern way through technology. We also want to interact direct with the customer and work closely with our partners on their needs.
Q: Has the design direction evolved for B&B Italia or do you still look towards individual craftsmanship?
Gilberto: It's very important for us to preserve the identity of the company and its individual brands. The focus of the mission is maintain the design, but with a different approach. We don't want to launch a lot of products at one go, we want to strike the right rhythm and to maintain the right balance of quality and design.
Q: Any recurring themes or trends that you're seeing that are evolving now?
Gilberto: I think now there's a lot of clarity with where we want to go in terms of design direction. I am happy with the quality, and our purpose is clear. We are trying to gauge what the next generations want and respond to across online and in-store availability, and access to design consultants from the brand.
Q: What are some of the trends you have seen in Dubai homes in terms of interiors?
Mohammad: A lot of homes in Dubai before was very classical, with a lot of gold and paintings, but now I see a complete change. A lot of focus on the more subtle, lightness and the contemporary. There are a lot of refurbishments going on at the moment, the new generation is having a lot of influence on the purchase decisions through their travels and experiences. With a change in technology, the new generations are rapidly changing the way they view their homes.
Q: What's next for Baituti Home?
Mohammad: Soon, we will be expanding to Abu Dhabi, Oman and Saudi Arabia. We are also opening some multi-brand concepts across Dubai as there are demands from brands who want to work with us, so we want to explore that.