When Bulgari renewed the lease on its Fifth Avenue store in 2015, it set a new real estate record for New York by paying a reported $5,000 per square foot.
And the spending didn’t stop there.
To mark 40 years in the city, Bulgari called in its architect of choice, Peter Marino, to reimagine the space with a full refurbishment that would be completed in 2017.
His brief was to bring Rome to New York, and he has done so by mirroring many of the elements of the jeweler’s Roman flagship on via Condotti, including a reproduction of its iconic 1930s entrance, and drawing on a palate of gold and apricot inspired by sunshine of southern Italy.
The gold was particularly significant in 2022, because Bulgari celebrated its 50th anniversary since first opening in New York.
While the original Condotti fascia is almost minimal in its chic use of neutral stonemasonry and marble window frames, New York is aggressive in its adornment.
The exterior is caged in metal mesh inspired by the clasp of a 1930s bracelet.
Each intersection is marked by floral Rosetta motifs fitted with 1,800 individually operated lights that can be used to create visual effects.
Visitors who cross the threshold will find themselves transported, by way of a star-patterned white Lasa marble mosaic floor, to a bright central promenade that is a gateway to a series of smaller, more intimate spaces.
Each pays homage to Italian culture and the brand’s glamorous history, including a VIP area on the mezzanine inspired by the salon in Condotti named after Bulgari super-fan Elizabeth Taylor.
To reach this exclusive space, one must ascend a spectacular marble staircase surrounded by yet more intricate metalwork, this time inspired by the Pantheon of ancient Rome.
Every lavish element has been meticulously chosen to build an immersive Bulgari experience.
As Mr Marino says: “There is nothing in this store that is anything but the feeling that life is great, life is good… this is literally la dolce vita.”
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