The Bulgari b.lounge and Pavilion was a temporary installation commissioned NaNA Architects by prestigious luxury jewellery brand Bulgari for Abu Dhabi Art 2012, held at Saadiyat al Manarat Abu Dhabi, UAE, open from the 5th November until the 10th November. Saadiyat Island will become home to Jean Nouvel’s new Louvre, Frank Gehry’s new Guggenheim and Foster and Partners’ Zayed National Museum, as such the focus upon architecture and design at this years art fair was significant with all three in attendance.
As principal sponsors of Abu Dhabi Art 2012 Bulgari were given a prominent outdoor space at the entrance of the event to create a lounge for VIPs and dignitaries of the art fair. The b.lounge was conceived as an exclusive and private venue with live music, a bar and a specially curated selection of Bulgari’s high end jewellery for sale.
Following on from Zaha Hadid’s Bulgari’s exhibition stand for Abu Dhabi Art 2011, Bulgari were keen to continue their patronage for innovative and creative design as well as encouraging young, emerging talent and commissioned NaNA to design a lounge with a breathtaking pavilion as its centrepiece.
The client’s brief was for the creation of space that was “audacious, unexpected, yet anchored in Bulgari’s heritage”. The site was approximately 300m 2 and needed to include a bar, a stage, jewellery showcases and a VVIP area with a capacity for the whole lounge of up to 150 people.
Within the world of high jewellery Bulgari is considered to be particularly innovative and progressive, especially in their use of technology and creative fabrication techniques. The project was required to be both representative of Bulgari’s style and its creative ideologies, whilst being emblematic of a “modern mythology”.
In developing the design concept for the pavilion we looked not only at Bulgari’s jewellery but also Bulgari’s own influences for their collections. In this way the lounge was intended to complement and reinterpret the collections rather than just emulate them. Much of Bulgari’s inspiration comes from nature, be it the geometry in plants or the fluidity and ephemerality of water.
This provided certain aesthetic and environmental inspirations however the principal inspiration was the distinctive use of cabochon cut jewels in Bulgari’s pieces. This is a process in which rough gemstones are polished to create a smooth rather than faceted finish. When combined with other polished stones the result is a fluid and organic piece of jewellery. In addition, whilst being renowned for their use of precious metals and gems, Bulgari’s jewellery has often used more unusual materials such as ceramic.
Photo credits: (c) NaNA