We catch up with Bulgari’s Boris Barboni to discuss the brands new collaboration with the late, great Zaha Hadid.
Zaha Hadid is a name synonymous with gorgeous architecture, art and design. She has put her hand to some of the world finest buildings, including the spell-binding London’s Aquatic Centre for the 2012 Olympics. She was also recently named as the 2017 designer of the BRIT award, joining a string of talented creatives who have made their mark previously, and confirming the fact that her influence extends far beyond contemporary architecture and into many creative spheres. Her latest project, and sadly one of her last, is a collaboration with fashion powerhouse Bulgari and their iconic, timeless ring, the B.Zero1. For this she calls upon her architectural virtuosity to create a design inspired by Italy’s most popular building, the Colosseum.
The ring made it’s first appearance in 1999 and became an instant must-have. It’s regular redesign and guest-edits allows the piece to maintain it’s uniqueness and relevancy, ensuring that it remains a staple of the Bulgari brand. The launch of the jewellery will be held today in Miami and will include an all-glam party at Miami’s The Faena this evening (December 2nd).
We managed to grab a moment with the amazing Boris Barboni, Bulgari’s Head of Marketing, who gave us the lo-down on the Hadid collaboration.
How did the collaboration with Zaha Hadid come about?
Our relationship with ZH began in 2008 and we have established a well-founded dialogue between two schools of design. In 2015 we decided to go a step further by with the aesthetics of our best known ring, B.ZERO1, joining with the typical aesthetic of ZH. This work it seemed immediately interesting because B.ZERO1 stands for geometry, strength, eternity, while the aesthetics of ZH is instead based on proportions, absolutely unique asymmetries. This apparent clash of design teases both our curiosity and ZH’s.
What makes Zaha Hadid the perfect collaborator for Bulgari?
Bulgari stands for vision both in design and in jewellery while ZH is synonymous of “vision” in architecture, with her absolutely unique buildings. That said, it was natural to choose someone like her to establish a cooperation, especially for a ring so important in the design world, such as B.ZERO1
Can you give an insight into the design process that Zaha and Bulgari went through on creating the new B.zero1?
It has been very fluid. ZH one day, talking to Jean Christophe Babin our CEO, expressed interest in collaborating on a project. Immediately with all the team, we had the idea that B.ZERO1 was the perfect experiment.
How long was this collaboration in the making?
We started working together in the summer of 2015, and we approved the designs at Christmas of the same year.
How has the B.zero1 collection maintained its relevancy after 17 years?
There has been a great work of the design team and an important research work for not stopping at the very first version of B.ZERO1. The ring has evolved over time, not in terms of design, because that was already perfect, rather than in the use of new materials. We introduced the first version with ceramics, then the marble – never used before in jewelry – and finally the ceramic titanium. If you are surprised because B.ZERO1 is still relevant after nearly 20 years, the answer is because it is a ring at the same time innovative and timeless with volumes that make it unique.
Why do Bulgari feel it is important to pay homage to Italian architecture?
We live in Rome and Rome is the city where you get inspired simply walking. This means that the dialogue between our creatives and the city is constant because we are surrounded by the beauty and by the a thousand architectural forms that the city offers: from Bernini and Borromini buildings up to get to the more modern buildings such as Zaha Hadid and Fuksas.
How would you describe the legacy that Zaha Hadid has left behind?
I believe that ZH has created exceptional buildings and unique forms. Rather than leave buildings, she leaves ideas that will live on forever. So when I step in front of one of her buildings, I see new ideas and these are the things that we loved at Bulgari and that we wanted in one of our jewels.
Describe Zaha Hadid’s interpretation of B.Zero 1 in one sentence…
Looking forward, what’s next for Bulgari?
Bulgari has a large number of projects, in fact, the first word that comes to my mind when I think “Bulgari” it is innovation. In a few months we will have a high jewelry event that will present a collection that will tell how Bulgari is “Larger Than Life”, and we hope to surprise our customers as we have been doing for the past 132 years.