PIQUED BY INTRIGUE
Bring a healthy dose of curiosity across the threshold of Bulgari’s latest concept store in Rome.
Fashionistas visiting or living in The Eternal City have a new playground to visit, courtesy of Bulgari. The Rome-headquartered brand has launched a refreshing concept beside its flagship on Via dei Condotti.
Named New Curiosity Shop, it looks, from the outside, like two different stores. The telltale sign that it’s not? The same almost two-metre-tall doorman who looms intimidatingly over the entrances. Go in and aside from the model-esque service staff eager to help, what immediately catches the eye is how the space is split, right down the middle, into two. Half is clad in dark tones of green, blue and brown, representing the past, while the other is in cream, gold and white, symbolic of the future.
This contrasting two- inone effect is deliberate, explains Victoria, one of the store assistants. “The New Curiosity Shop is a futuristic version and neighbour of the original Old Curiosity Shop, which was established by the brand’s founder Sotirios Bulgari in 1905,” she says. Dominating the space is a sparkling Murano glass chandelier custom-made by Venini. It is suspended over a horseshoe-shaped counter that encases jewellery exclusive to the New Curiosity Shop. More interestingly, the table hides a pair of interactive, touchsensitive screens where visitors can learn about the brand’s history and browse the collections.
The front half of the store is flanked on both sides by shelves and drawers containing Bulgari accessories, which you can try on. Victoria points to a beautiful ring and bangle set in pink gold and diamonds – part of the Condotti10 collection – that is inspired by the motif found on the floor of the Pantheon, an architectural wonder of Rome.
There is also the funky 20-piece limited- edition Serpenti Twist Your Time watch collection, with exchangeable straps in pink or turquoise calf leather. The case comes in pink gold with diamond
Named New Curiosity Shop, it looks, from the outside, like two different stores.
pave framing a mother- of-pearl face. On the back is engraved Only In Rome for that special touch. Unifying the space is the idea of a cabinet of curiosities, which dates back to the late Renaissance, where the wealthy displayed collectibles from science or nature. This is the most obvious at the back half of the store, where there are objets d’art that will refresh every few months. For now, the items are curated by the renowned decorative arts Maison Fornasetti, set up by one of the most creative designers of the 20th century, Piero Fornasetti. A wooden hand-lacquered sideboard sits against the back wall. Above it hangs handcrafted plates embellished with an astronomical theme.
Pause a moment and sit on the quirky chairs around the green- or gold- coloured table. They make for perfect vantage points to admire both the artistry of the surroundings and perhaps even a piece of jewellery. Victoria hits the nail on the head when she muses aloud: “I think Mr Bulgari would have approved.” www. bulgari.com ≠
Unifying the space is the idea of a cabinet of curiosities.