BVLGARI celebrates its 130th years since its first shop was opened in Rome. To mark this significant anniversary Bulgari commissioned renowned American architect Peter Marino to refurbish its flagship store in Rome at via dei Contotti 10 and to finance the renovation of the Spanish Steps. Jean-Christophe Babin, Chief Executive Officer of the Bulgari Group thus commented “2014 will be a particularly important year for us, as it marks Bulgari’s 130th Anniversary. The celebrations start with the reopening of the historic flagship store in via dei Condotti in Rome, an event designed as a tribute to the city whose eternal history has been an inexhaustible constant source of inspiration for our collections. Furthermore I am extremely proud of this agreement with the City of Rome which will allow us to “adopt” the Spanish Steps. They are at the heart of our history, between via Sistina - where Sotirio Bulgari first opened its doors in 1884 - and the historic store in via dei Condotti. Who better than Bulgari can contribute to the renovation of such an architectural jewel in the Eternal City? For me this is just one of the many steps that Bulgari has taken towards Eternity.”
Sotirios Boulgaris was born into a family of Greek silversmiths in 1857; an exceptionally skilled and talented craftsman, he was also blessed with keen business acumen. In 1879, the search for new opportunities prompted him to leave Greece and, after a short period in Corfu and then Naples, in 1881 he settled in Rome, the capital of the newly established Kingdom of Italy. In 1884, as soon as his finances permitted, Sotirio opened his first shop at via Sistina 85 - on the fashionable promenade leading to Piazza Trinità dei Monti at the top of the Spanish Steps - where he was to remain until 1923. In 1894 Sotirio opened a second store located at via dei Condotti 28 and, in 1905, a third and larger one at numbers 10b and 10c of via dei Condotti.
This shop is situated at the end of the street which leads to the Spanish Steps, opposite the elegant and fashionable Caffé Greco. It is at the heart of the so called “Tridente” complex of roads, and on one Rome’s most glamorous shopping streets. For years the three Bulgari shops coexisted, linked together by the Spanish Steps. La Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti, as this monumental stairway with its 138 travertine steps is known in Italian, was designed by Francesco de Sanctis as an interpretation of terraced garden stairs on a massive scale; it was completed in 1725, and is still to this day the widest in Europe. For nearly four decades the Spanish Steps played an important functional role for Bulgari, physically connecting the shops situated below and above the hill. Surely no other jeweller in the world boasts of a more spectacular architectural backdrop. Not surprisingly Bulgari capitalised on this visual connection when, in a 1960s advertising campaign, it framed the Spanish Steps with a magnificent necklace, set with diamonds and the finest Burmese rubies.
In occasion of its 130th Anniversary, Bulgari has created an amazing one-of-a-kind necklace named Ultimate Temptation, a piece that celebrates the snake both as one of the most iconic signs of the brand and as the symbol of eternal renewal. Like the snake which changes its skin to renew itself, but without ever losing its identity, Bulgari’s rendition of this motif has evolved through the years, never breaking the link between past and present. With its lightness and its sinuous nature, Ultimate Temptation symbolizes the unique relationship between women and the snake: the jewel coils around the woman who owns it, it embraces her shape and it becomes as one with her. In the same way as women hide numerous secret worlds within themselves, the necklace transforms itself smoothly from the regularity of its body to the extravagance of its tail, suggesting that new treasures lie under its skin, waiting to be discovered. Over 60 carats of fancy-shaped diamonds are set in an apparently random pattern, but the mosaic is actually a per fect balance between design and superlative craftsmanship in which the 70 diamonds follow each other along the tail of the snake form, leading f inally to an extraordinarily beautiful 12.16 carat drop.
The new B.zero1 Roma ring makes its debut on this historic 130th Anniversary as a tribute to the city which has inspired the Bulgari for so many years. Made of pink gold, with a body with four strips in bronzed ceramic, this new addition to the B.zero1 collection is a celebration of both Bulgari’s roots and its timeless link to the Eternal City. The industrial design of the B.zero1 which was launched at the end of 1999 merges two distinctive elements of Bulgari’s iconography: the Tubogas and the BVLGARI logo. The iconic logo, has been crafted from Bulgari in an elegant tribute to Rome itself, searing the DNA of the city’s glorious past, into the house’s creative oeuvre, by signing the new B.zero1 ring with the BVLGARI ROMA logo. The fluid beauty and circular form of the new B.zero1 Roma symbolizes eternal renewal, its shape recalling famous Roman architectural masterpieces such as the Coliseum, Castel Sant’Angelo and the Pantheon. Their magnificent and imposing round shapes have survived the centuries with grace and indomitable strength, and their physical presence find an apt metaphor in the circularity of the B.zero1 Roma. A jewel inspired by the past, and yet fully part of the present, the ring’s dedication to Rome represents the artistic culmination of a 130-year-old journey.
Carbongold ~ One of the most iconic models in Bulgari’s watch collections which made its debut in 1993 and which was re-launched in 2005 is offered anew, this time specially clad in plastic and gold. Two new Octo models make their appearance for this special anniversary: Octo Solotempo and Octo Velocissimo. The first is powered by the Solotempo Caliber, a self-winding mechanism conceived, developed and produced within the Bulgari Manufacture. The Octo Velocissimo is powered by the manufacture Velocissimo Caliber. Both creations are crafted with a pink gold case equipped with an alligator strap. Octo Solotempo and Octo Velocissimo embody distinction with absolute charisma. The inspiration ruling the distinctive shape of the Octo has ancient roots. Throughout the centuries, both in the East and West, the octagon power fully symbolised per fection, equilibrium and harmony. The ladies’ anniversary versions pay tribute to Bulgari’s great tradition of watch-jewels. The new Bulgari Bulgari Catene watch in white gold, embellished with 887 round and baguette cut diamonds totalling 27.97 carats, took Bulgari’s dedicated craftsmen over 2,000 hours to make. The double tour bracelet is incredible fluid and flexible, wrapping around the wrist like a second skin. The iconic Serpenti watch, which has always been one of the most enduring symbols of Bulgari’s creative universe, is interpreted in three precious new versions. Each features a hidden watch case in the snake’s head, and each incorporates diamonds paired with turquoise, onyx or coral. With their bold colours and combination of precious stones, they are perfect expressions of one of Bulgari’s most distinctive styles. The women’s anniversary collection is completed by two Diva watches in white gold and diamond pavé, embellished with the vivid emeralds and sapphires for one model, and rubellites and sapphires for the other.