Our Story

For 40 years, BFI has served the international network of Fuller-inspired innovators (polymaths) through the maintenance of a comprehensive Information Clearinghouse on R.B Fuller, including a detailed inventory of the practices and principles informing Fuller’s approach to design innovation; articles featuring contemporary applications of Fuller’s approach published in BFI’s website, monthly email newsletter, and on-line books; audio and video archives; Dymaxion Artifacts, BFI’s online store featuring educational tools and Programs based on Fuller’s principles.

From 1983-1999 BFI served as custodians for the Fuller Archive, providing access to scholars and researchers Fuller’s exhaustive collection of papers and artifacts. In 1999 the Fuller archives were transferred to the Stanford University Libraries, where they are housed today.

BFI has a rich history of producing a number of leading-edge educational experiences across the media spectrum, these include:

  • Produced and recorded a series of all-day public presentations by Buckminster Fuller to over 5,000 in Los Angeles, 1983.
  • Co-produced and provided research for multiple exhibitions from the Fuller Archive, including a 4,000 sq. ft. exhibition that traveled to Europe and Japan for 3 years.
  • Co-produced an American Master’s film for PBS on Buckminster Fuller, Thinking Out Loud.
  • Developed and delivered for Pacific Bell Corporation the Dymaxion Laboratory college accredited course on the principles of breakthrough design strategies, to over 2,000 employees.
  • Conceived and developed the EARTHscope™ online geo-story-telling tool and EARTHscope™ Library.
  • Produced and published numerous articles, papers, booklets and maps including three versions of the Dymaxion map and two versions of the Fuller Projection Dymaxion Fold-up Globe.
  • Designed and launched the Fuller Challenge from 2007-2017 BFI gave over $1,000,000 in prizes to to make visible the vibrancy and dedication of an emerging field of comprehensive, whole-systems designers.

In 2016, BFI moved from Brooklyn, New York to San Francisco, California after a 13 year stint. The move from New York to California capped a new strategic planning process in which the organization refined its mission, streamlined its operational systems, and adding new members to its Board of Directors. The move to San Francisco from New York situated BFI at a crossroads culminating the 10 years of the Fuller Challenge and shifting to Fuller-inspired programs for the Institute, including Regenerosity, the Cooperating Manual for Spaceship Earth, Design Science Studio and Trimtab Space Camp, catalyzing our international community of leading edge architects, artists, designers, engineers, planners and other thinkers.

Since our move in 2016, BFI has continued to bridge the past programs of the institute including the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, with Fuller’s thinking today. Click here for a complete list of our current programming.