In 1905, Bulgari’s founder Sotirio Bulgari opened a store at Via dei Condotti 10 and, inspired by British novelist Charles Dickens’s popular novel, he called his new venture the Old Curiosity Shop. Bulgari hoped that his tribute to Dickens would attract wealthy English-speaking visitors to Rome and went about filling the store with all sorts of trinkets, treasures and curiosities from across the globe. The store laid the foundations for the Bulgari brand that we know today and now, over 110 years after Bulgari first opened its doors on Via dei Condotti, the brand is going back to its roots and revisiting this idea.
The New Curiosity Shop, situated next to the original site which now houses the Bulgari flagship in Rome, seeks to showcase the playful and eclectic origins of the brand, offering a window into the wonderfully creative world of Bulgari. The space itself is a unique experience where nothing is what is seems. The design team played with the idea of opposites when creating the interiors and an imaginary line runs down the centre of the boutique, separating a warm wooden side from a minimal marble one. A central, seemingly regular, table also offers another dimension as it turns into an interactive screen when viewed from above, allowing visitors to view all of the collections on offer – bringing a high-tech edge to this historically inspired concept.
The shopping experience is also set to be a little different. Instead of all products being displayed, the walls are lined with drawers and cabinets filled with hidden treasures to discover, and to mark the launch of the new store, these items will be extra-special. A selection of pieces from the Bulgari jewellery vaults will be on display, along with pieces celebrating the city of Rome itself. A mini collection of jewellery entitled CONDOTTI10 references the brand’s relationship with this special street; a limited-edition run of the Serpenti SS18 bag, embellished with #Roma, offers the perfect souvenir from the city; and a version of the Serpenti Twist Your Time watch, featuring interchangeable straps and a hidden Only in Rome engraving on the case back, is another stunning nod to the brand’s heritage.
As with exhibitions in many art galleries, the space is set to change every six months, as the brand collaborates with contemporary designers and offers new exclusive products to discover. For a truly exceptional shopping experience and an insight into Bulgari’s rich history, a visit to the New Curiosity Shop is sure to inspire wonder.
Bulgari New Curiosity Shop, Via dei Condotti 11A, 00187 Rome, +39 06 679 2487