Bonacina 1889, a historic Italian company synonymous around the world with products in rattan and wicker with a very high formal and aesthetic quality presents a selection of iconic pieces that the company has produced in the course of more of a century of its long history
Bonacina1889, the historic brand of design made in Brianza, presented its most iconic products during the Salone at Santa Sofia 27, which 1n 2017 after reuniting the Vittorio and Pierantonio Bonacina under one brand, are re-edited in new colors to update the design according to the trends of the contemporary interior.
After the highly successful 2017 (with a 40% growth over the previous years), Elia Bonacina, CEO at Bonacina1889, presents the company’s novelties for this year: among the designers who have collaborated on the creation of rattan armchairs, there are renowned designers such as Piero Lissoni.
The outdoor collection has been extended and there is also a new co-branding with the Boffi Group: De Padova has included in its catalogue two products from the company’s historic archive that will be traded as De Padova by Bonacina.
About Wicker Furniture
Just a handful of Europe’s rattan ateliers are still in operation.
The three finest have been weaving furniture according to ancient techniques for the last hundred years.
While wicker’s apex was in the 19th century, when trade routes from Asia brought a steady supply of rattan to Europe, the art of weaving objects from natural fibers actually goes back at least as far as ancient Egypt.
Today, however, quality handwoven wicker is still being produced in a few of those original century-old workshops, most of which are small family-run operations.
The designs have evolved with the times, but the construction process has barely changed in thousands of years.
Wicker refers to a technique of weaving fibers rather than to any particular material, and so can be done with anything from plant-based elements to synthetics.
These remaining ateliers continue to use natural rattan, the stem of a sturdy yet flexible climbing palm, to form the base of the structure of the piece, and thin spaghetti-like strands harvested from the interior of the stem for the fine weaving work that gives wicker its name.
Competition has come mostly in the form of imported cheaper pieces, which might be a fine thing, especially for the countries where rattan grows, like Indonesia and Malaysia.
But rarely is the craftsmanship or design comparable to the work coming from these traditional studios.
Here, highly skilled artisans create furniture the way they always have: by heating stiff poles of rattan into malleable rods that are bent on a metal frame and willed into functional works of art.
Three of the last ateliers left — in Sweden, England and Italy — are by all accounts creating the most beautiful wicker furniture today.
While all use the same over-under weaving technique practiced by basket-makers for millennia, the styles of each house are reflections of their individual countries — making wicker a small but lovely prism through which to view the world
About Bonacina 1889
As the name suggests, the company Bonacina 1889 dates back to late 19th Century.
What is unusual is that this timeline represents an unbroken commitment to and passion for a single material.
And a family name that is now synonymous worldwide with the finest designers and design furniture in rattan.
The great designers have a deep knowledge of their raw materials.
Rattan and rattan core embody strength, vitality and fluidity, and are an ecologically sustainable, natural and renewable resource.
Iconic design reflects this. And whether applying a wide range of water-based, appealing and modern colors, or opting for natural finishes and tones, the design is enhanced by the material – and each piece almost seems to breathe.
Each furniture piece is made by hand. Bonacina’s artisan families have a mastery of the production techniques they use.
Using the basic elements of water and fire, they give shape and substance to excellent design, creating functional and beautiful furniture that is a delight to live with, and which is both timeless and of its time
Certain names and dates distinguish the life of a company just as they distinguish the life of each one of us:
1889 • Giovanni Bonacina and the tradition
1951 • Vittorio Bonacina and the revolution in design
1980 • Mario Bonacina and the design for the future
2012 • Elia Bonacina investing in the future by confirming your roots
Long a secret resource of Europe’s most discerning decorators, Bonacina is a 128-year-old wicker furniture company north of Milan run by the founder’s grandson Mario, along with his wife and children.
Most of the workers are locals who have been with the company for years, and who return home each afternoon for lunch.
Men do the hot, physical work of bending the thick rods of rattan, and women do the weaving.
In addition to the thousands of designs created over three generations — everything from a classic armchair with a sunburst pattern designed by decorator Renzo Mongiardino to, more recently, a thin chaise resembling a bent sheet of metal created by Mario Bonacina — the company has collaborated with a number of other designers such as Gae Aulenti, Gio Ponti, Joe Colombo and Franco Albini.
Most famous, perhaps, is the decades-long collaboration with Mongiardino, who created for the house, among other things, a collection of charming, old-fashioned chairs and settees with Italian doyenne Marella Agnelli for all of her properties, including those in St. Moritz, Rome, New York City and Marrakesh.
It also hasn’t been difficult for contemporary designers and architects — including Peter Marino, Jacques Grange and Daniel Romualdez — to appreciate the company’s humble but elegant design;
Bonacina’s grand sloping armchairs and spare, streamlined loungers can be found in Italian hotels like Le Sirenuse, Francis Ford Coppola’s Palazzo Margherita and Villa Feltrinelli.