Rumor has it that Jacqueline Kennedy O’Nassis started wearing shades at the suggestion of Gore Vidal: “They’re not only useful for hiding under, but also for studying people without their realizing it.” Oversize sunglasses soon became a staple of the First Lady and style icon’s wardrobe throughout her time in the public eye, becoming emblematic of ‘60s mod and ‘70s glamour. Their influence remains undeniable within fashion and design even decades after her death, and most recently inspired the gentle contours of B&B Italia’s latest collection of tables and chairs designed by Monica Armani.
Referencing the glitzy ‘60s came naturally for Armani, an Italian designer whose products also grace the catalogs of such esteemed homegrown brands as Boffi and Luceplan. “The ‘60s is an incredible era,” says Armani, who channeled her style icon into a throne-like seat called Flair O’ and family of sculptural tables called Allure O’. Like the rest of her catalog, they strive for balance, charm, and elegance. “When I think of the ‘60s, I think of the purity of lines and volumes and the simplicity of sophisticated glamour. In my work, I look for harmony and balance combined with the search for detail. I never want to be excessive.”
These qualities come to light in the graceful elliptical shapes of each piece’s base, a truncated pyramid with rounded edges that widen gently on the rear side as it nears the floor. It’s a subtle detail that could easily go unnoticed at first, but offers a sculptural edge upon second glances. “The shapes,” continues Armani, “are always in an authentic balance between the lines and curves.” What makes Flair O’ stand out, however, isn’t immediately noticeable—the backrest’s accentuated tilt and automatic return mechanism, which makes it possible to rock gently back and forth. The chair quickly returns to its initial position when the user stands up, all without crinkling the skin-tight upholstery that can be selected from B&B Italia’s wide range of fabrics.
Each piece seems engineered specifically to create a prestigious mise en scéne—especially Allure O’, which can be customized to seat four, six, or eight people, and features a square or rounded top with bevelled edges that replicate the sinuous shapes of Jackie O’s eyewear. The tops come in glossy or matte painted finishes in 18 colors, including Carrara and Marquina marble that lends an extra dose of Italian verve. “This collection makes every space a place,” Armani says, “creating a unique atmosphere that remains etched in the memory. Interacting with these products is a journey between Italian manufacturing history and glamour.”