Spanish manufacturer BD Barcelona Design is best known for producing stand-alone furniture pieces by renowned historical and contemporary designers. BD Barcelona focuses primarily on one-of-a-kind designs that blur the lines between art and functional furniture.
BD Barcelona was founded in 1972 by five young, Barcelona-born architects: Pep Bonet, Cristian Cirici, Lluís Clotet, Mireia Riera, and Oscar Tusquets Blanca. Originally known as Boccacio Design—after the Barcelona nightclub frequented by certain left-wing intelligentsia—the company was renamed during its first year to Bd Ediciones de Diseño, and once again in 2007 to BD Barcelona Design.
The founding partners met at the Architecture University of Barcelona during the 1970s. They bonded over what they perceived as a lack of available, inspiring design objects. Wishing to see more innovation in furniture, they decided to create their own company to produce avant-garde designs that focused on artisanal processes, rather than mass production. The founders also wished to produce works by design masters they admired, including the young Italian architect-designer Ettore Sottsass. Sottsass was one of the first designers to collaborate with BD Barcelona, for which he designed the Mettsass Table (1972), Element of Architecture Vase (1972), Knossos Lamp (1973), and the phallic Shiva Vase (1973)—one of BD Barcelona’s most famous designs.
BD Barcelona also manufactures reissues of pre-existing, iconic furniture designs. The company’s very first reissue was Gerrit Reitveld's 's Red and Blue Chair (designed in 1918 and reissued in 1972); other standouts include Charles R. Mackintosh’s Hill House furniture (originally designed in 1902, reissued in 1981).
Notably, BD Barcelona holds the exclusive world marketing rights to all the furniture designs of Salvador Dalí, and it has produced several pieces by the famed artist. In 1972, for example, Dalí designed the lips-shaped Salivasofá Sofa with Tusquets Blanca for BD Barcelona; purportedly inspired by the actress’s lips, the sofa was placed in the Mae West room at the Dalí Theatre and Museum in the artist’s hometown of Figueres, Spain. During the early 2000s, BD Barcelona released the design to the general market (thanks to improvements in rotational molding which allowed for more reliable, larger scale production) with the name Dalilips. Additionally, during the 1990s, inspired by Tusquets Blanca’s close friendship with Dalí, BD Barcelona set itself the task of turning a series of furniture Dalí had drawn for French interior designer Jean-Michel Frank into reality. Among these items were the Leda Chair and Leda Low Table, taken from the painting Femme à la tête rose (1935). In 2009, BD Barcelona produced another limited edition version of the same table and chair, though this time in black, in honor of the 20th anniversary of Dalí’s death.
To date, BD Barcelona has collaborated with a number of respected designers, including Alfredo Häberli, Konstantin Grcic, Doshi Levien, Ross Lovegrove, Antoine et Manuel, Josep Maria Jujol, Javier Mariscal, and Álvaro Siza Vieira, among others. Standout designs in the company’s repertoire include Álvaro Siza Vieira’s Flamingo Lamp (1972); Clotet and Tusquets Blanca’s Cuc Lamp (1972, with Anna Bohigas), Hialina Shleving (1973, winner of the 1974 Adi-Fad Delta prize), Catalano Bench (1974), Versatil Trolley (1976), and Hypóstila Shelving (1979), and Varius Chair (1983); Guissepe Terragni’s Monza Armchair (1974); Pep Bonet’s Catenaria (1986, Delta de Plata Prize); Mireia Riera’s Luminoso Mirror (1975, Delta de Oro Adi-Fad Prize); Javier Mariscal’s Duplex Stool (1981), Alfredo Häberli’s Happy Hour Collection (2001); Jaime Hayon’s Showtime Collection (2006); and Konstantin Grcic’s Table B (2009, Silver Delta Award and Red Dot Award), Chair B (2010, Silver Delta Award), and Bench B (2012, Silver Delta Award); and the Campana Brothers’ Aquário Cabinet (2016).
BD Barcelona has been based in Barcelona since the company’s inception, with showrooms in Barcelona and London. Their clientele consists primarily of private consumers and hotels. Notably, French designer Philippe Starck has furnished many of his projects with BD Barcelona pieces, including the Clift Hotel in San Francisco, the Delano Hotel in South Beach, and private spaces with his design brand YOO, such as the Icon Brickell apartment complex in Miami.
BD Barcelona is the recipient of many prestigious awards and prizes. In addition to awards received for specific products, they have also received the Premio Nacional de Diseño (1989), the European Community Design Prize (1990), and the Design for the World Award (2001).