The site of the R&D Centre, which was designed in 2002 by Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, is the last building in chronological order of those which form the Novedrate campus. An architectural complex conceived in complete harmony with all its surroundings.
It is the space where ideas converge. Where research is integrated into product, space design and communication. The R&D Centre is the creative laboratory for design and product research, and coordinates B&B Italia's image. It includes offices for graphic design, PR and Communication, and retail space design; several product development laboratories, the historical archive, photography hall, training areas and the corporate showroom.
The building might recall an “architectural interlude” between the two works by Afra and Tobia Scarpa (B&B Production Facility, Novedrate, Italy) and by Renzo Piano (B&B Italia Headquarters), respectively. In the 18th century the term “interlude” designated the genre of a short show that was performed between two acts of serious Italian operas.
And just as the director and actors of an interlude ensure consistency with the main work in which their piece appears, the designers and managers of B&B Italia's R&D Centre focus on establishing subtle and discrete relations with the history and prior condition of the site. Hence, on the one hand the designers carefully “restitch” the wall masses of the Scarpa's factory, and on the other hand they also conceive the new building as a complementary but non-invasive “backdrop” for the building that hosts Renzo Piano's offices. When he describes the project, Antonio Citterio himself repeatedly mentions the idea of “curtain,” also recalling how “subtle architecture is neither silent architecture nor is it incapable of expressing itself….
(excerpt from The Long Life of Design in Italy. B&B Italia 50 years and beyond. Stefano Casciani)
The R&D Centre hosts B&B Italia's showroom. A surface area of 1,650 m2 designed to present the company with an original concept that features a powerful international personality. Flowing lines and consistent hues are common to the various areas. Spaces created to express well defined visions within scenic sets designed to suggest atmospheres, trends and emotions.
There are no rooms but environments, which can be transformed by new suggestive ideas. Decorations and materials undergo changes to define unexpected visions. A sophisticated play of architecture and graphic design, which converges monochromatic solutions and colour becomes the ideal backdrop for an impressive still life that perfectly merges with nature. The showroom is the space that presents and relates products. But it is also a genuine experimentation laboratory. New exhibition design models are studied here for trade fairs and shops worldwide.