In celebration of their newly launched collection Mediterranea, Bulgari’s Fabrizio Buonamassa and Mauro Di Roberto talk about timeless beauty and creativity that transcends.
It was in the gravitas and grandness of Venice’s Palazzo Ducale where Bulgari decided to introduce the world to Mediterranea, its latest collection of high-jewelry and high-end watches. The choice of the floating city seemed apropos, with its storied history as a point of convergence, connecting distant lands through culture and beauty.
The Meditarrenea collection draws inspiration from the diverse arts and culture of the region. Bulgari traces an imagined trip from Rome to Venice, forming constellations of detail, symbols, and atmospheres around three universes: “Southern Radiance,” “Roman Splendor,” and “East Meets West.”
The Italian luxury house’s ambassadors were on hand, from Zendaya and BLACKPINK’s Lisa to Anne Hathaway and Priyanka Chopra. The celebrities made for an eye-catching front row to behold Bulgari’s presentation of Mediterranea’s over 400 glittering pieces. One necklace, in particular, stole the show; the Muse of Rome necklace featured a detachable 218.53-carat sugarloaf emerald, one that took two master artisans to set.
In the midst of all the festivities, Vogue Philippines sat down with Mauro Di Roberto, Bulgari’s managing director for the Jewelry Business Unit, to discuss the making of the collection.
Di Roberto tells Vogue Philippines that a critical aspect of the story they’re trying to convey is of craftsmanship. The brand used AI technology for this launch to bring audiences deeper into the collection, allowing them in on the “dream” behind certain pieces. “The way you are transported, seeing the process—seeing it so real [and] in detail—can only make you fascinated,” he says.
This emphasis on the products and the way they were made is intentional.
“We realize that [a younger demographic is] more and more interested in seeing the craftsmanship, not only the glamour or the celebrity, so that means there is an interest in the product,” Di Roberto continues. “That’s the beauty about today’s jewelry; you can work on and talk about the craftsmanship, and you will have people listen to you.”
Mediterranea draws from several inspirations, even referencing the cultures that had converged in Venice in centuries past—from the Silk Road to the dunes of the African desert. Even still, the references aren’t entangled within one another but are clear in their translations. Di Roberto attributes this to the world of pure imagination created by Lucia Silvestri, Bulgari’s creative director for Jewelry and the Bulgari team.
“If you sit with [Silvestri], you’ll dream,” he says. “She will tell you about the sunrise and sunset of Rome, then the dunes and desert of North Africa. She has a certain relationship with gems because she [has been purchasing them] for more than 40 years. When she looks at gems, she knows; she starts seeing the product from the gem alone.”
Bulgari’s imagined worlds go beyond jewelry. For Mediterranea, Fabrizio Buonamassa, the creative director for Bulgari Watches, says that their wearable “sea rock” creations were merely envisioned. “It was really from imagination,” he says. “The idea was to have an aquarium on the wrist.”
The aim was to conjure an unmistakable image of the Mediterranean Sea, which is achieved by using elements that are immediately recognizable to people. Timepieces are affixed between bejeweled fishes, seashells, and starfishes; each piece is meticulous to the infinitesimal detail. Buonamassa says this is the most important aspect that went into the making of the watches: the “richness” of detail.
“[It] must be colorful with a lot of details that you have to discover little by little. The Bulgari archive is super rich [with] different details, different proportions,” he shares. “The idea is not to wear a jewel as a static object; the idea is that the jewel [becomes] a part of your style and attitude.”
For this collection of high-end watches, time seems to take a backseat to beauty. “I don’t know how I can explain the relationship between Italy and time,” Buonamassa says. “We love beautiful things, and maybe beautiful things are timeless. The beauty for us is not the philosophical concept, but [it] is in our needs.”