Bangkok now has a Bvlgari flagship store with a façade designed by MVRDV. Located in the IconSiam department store – one of the largest malls in Asia – the project is the second in a series of façades designed by MVRDV for the luxury brand, following a store in Kuala Lumpur that opened in 2018. The Bangkok store opened last year with a spectacular party and, now that corona measures in Thailand have been relaxed, visitors can shop again to their heart’s content.
MVRDV was tasked with rethinking the façade designs for new Bvlgari stores, adding a contemporary touch to their classic image. The Italian brand has stood for glamour and creativity for more than a century, inspired by the timeless beauty of Roman art. Taking this heritage as a starting point, MVRDV’s designs took inspiration from the portals and distinctive cornices on Bvlgari’s very first store in Rome, located on Via dei Condotti since 1905.
The form of this cornice became the motif that MVRDV developed as a common thread across the Bvlgari façades, deployed in a variety of combinations that allowed MVRDV to experiment with asymmetric patterns and innovative materials.
In the IconSiam store, elegance is the defining feature, standing out even among the other luxury brands in a high-end area of the mall. The cornice pattern façade is completed in brass combined with different types of glass, giving a golden effect and creating a striking impression for visitors ascending the mall’s escalators, which end directly in front of the Bvlgari store.
The windows have varying colours and degrees of transparency, tailored to the functions behind them: at the ground floor, transparent glass creates shop windows, while on the two levels above opaque windows are strategically placed to allow visitors to the top-floor VIP lounge their privacy. Surrounding each window, subtle lighting highlights the store’s products and the backgrounds in Bvlgari’s signature saffron colour.
“With this design, we bring a Roman zest for life to Bangkok”, says MVRDV founding partner Jacob van Rijs. “We are working on several Bvlgari stores simultaneously, always making sure that we use high-quality materials such as natural stone, tinted glass, copper, and gold as a basis. Though all the designs will be unique to their location, each will have a distinct Bvlgari signature.”
The first Bvlgari flagship store with an MVRDV-designed façade opened in Kuala Lumpur in 2018. This design used a unique material: concrete crossed by gold-coloured transparent resin veins. This material gives the appearance of marble, with the veins lighting up at night to provide a radically different look. Earlier in the same year, during the Salone del Mobile, MVRDV presented an installation for Bvlgari which translated the well-known ‘Serpenti’ scale motif into a vaulted mirrored room.