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Smoke: the story behind a great design project

(Pic Copyright: Ignazia Favata / Joe Colombo Studio)

Smoke: the story behind a great design project

A truly historic collection, the first ever produced by Arnolfo di Cambio, signed by a great designer.

Back in 1961, Gilberto Bagnasacco, co-founder of Arnolfo di Cambio, used to take part in hill climbing competitions with his father Bruno, driving his car against the clock on uphill courses.
One afternoon, Joe Colombo, who was then in his early thirties and still worked as a car salesman in Milan, called Gilberto and asked him to try out a new car model. Gilberto went to see Joe immediately, but he told him that he should have gone back home to his father as soon as possible, as they were both due to meet with an architect who was designing the interior of a hotel that Bruno was building in Sardinia.
It was then that Joe kind of blurted out: he asked Gilberto why he had not been involved in the project, even though he knew he was an architect, and insisted to meet Bruno to talk about the hotel. Gilberto managed to convince his father to meet Joe, to whom Bruno ended up giving a single chance: Joe had only 24 hours to come up with an idea.
The next day, Joe showed up with a model of the reception and common areas: he had successfully managed to convince Bruno to entrust him with the project that would have later earned him the InArch Award, in 1962.
And so it was that Joe Colombo, as a sign of gratitude, eventually presented his project for the Smoke collection to the newborn Arnolfo di Cambio.The Smoke collection went into production in Colle di Val D’Elsa in 1963, the same year in which the company was founded, and immediately went on to achieve resounding success.

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