Bvlgari's Iconic 'Serpenti' Design Finds New Life with the Support of Regional Artists | Savoir Flair
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Bvlgari's Iconic 'Serpenti' Design Finds New Life with the Support of Regional Artists
article BVLGARI
by Grace Gordon 3-minute read September 17, 2023

In partnership with Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), Bvlgari celebrates 75-years of 'Serpenti' evolution with a stunning exhibition in Dubai.

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When thinking about the Bvlgari ‘Serpenti’ design – a sinuous snake symbol found in cultures from the ancient to the modern world throughout history – there is a single word that comes to mind: evolution. It also happens to be a key theme of Bvlgari’s new ‘Bvlgari Serpenti 75 Years of Infinite Tales’ exhibition, one that is interpreted many times over by artists across genres – including the UAE’s very own homegrown talents. 

From Milan’s central Piazza Duomo to the Middle East, Bvlgari has not only brought the exhibition to Dubai – a city that continues to feel like the center of the world for all of its high-level activations, exhibitions, and exciting cultural events – but it has brought the Middle East into the narrative fold. This journey is evidenced by a large map in the second room of the exhibition, which is bisected by a slithering ‘Serpenti’ design that connects Italy to its regional family. 

Nestled in the architectural marvel of The Gate Building at DIFC, a tale as old as time unravels. Bvlgari, the brand synonymous with Italian luxury and timeless elegance, flings open the curtains to an enchanting exhibition where exquisite jewels dance in the realm of contemporary art, narrating the next spellbinding chapter of the ‘Serpenti’ narrative. This story is not just about a piece of jewelry; it’s about an emblem, a muse, and its chameleonic journey across cultures and ages.

Tracing its genesis to 1948, the Serpenti has perpetually mirrored the zeitgeist yet never strayed from its ancient charisma. For seven and a half decades, this iconic symbol has encapsulated Bvlgari's audacious design prowess, echoing tales from Cleopatra's era to today's contemporary rhythms. As it gracefully draped around elegant necks, it became more than just a piece – it became a personal storyteller.

img DR. AFRA ATIQ | BVLGARI
img DR. AZZA AL QUBAISI | BVLGARI
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For 75 years, Bvlgari has worked with artists and artisans to interpret its iconic ‘Serpenti’ design, ensuring that it is always evolving. This is something that the three artists from the region kept in mind when creating their diverse and intriguing versions for the exhibition. Dr. Afra Atiq, an Emirati spoken word poet, crafted an emotional poem entitled ‘Bait Wara Bait’ or ‘Line After Line’ by considering a snake shedding its skin and how similar that is to how we shed old perspectives and old ideas. “We evolve,” she said in an exclusive interview with Savoir Flair. To bring an organic bridge between the ‘Serpenti’ jewelry design and her poem, she “built the world of the poem through the language of jewelry” and enhanced it further with Arabic culture references. For instance, she relayed how she was taught never to show up to a guest’s house empty-handed “even when all you can bring with you is a prayer.” This sentiment appears beautifully in the poem, which can also be heard in her own voice over the speakers inside the exhibition.

Dr. Azra Khamissa, the well-known henna artist, also thought about evolution. “It clicked for me right away when I thought of how a serpent changes, evolves, and metamorphosizes. It made me think about the people of this region and how quickly they’ve changed, adapted, and evolved. It was an obvious link for me.” For the collaboration, she created three henna designs inspired by the serpent’s scales, shot against three backdrops common to the region: the mountains, the desert, and palm trees.

Bvlgari also tapped jewelry designer and sculpture artist Azza Al Qubaisi for the exhibition, and she developed spectacular steel sculptures that mimic the movement of a serpent through sand dunes. 


Inside the Serpenti Factory

Commemorating this storied emblem, the Serpenti Factory initiative has been birthed. It’s an alchemical blend of artistry and legacy, delving into Bvlgari's archives to unravel Serpenti's ceaseless inspiration. The Factory is a treasure trove. It intertwines heritage, artistry, and innovation, with the 75th-anniversary celebrations playing the centerpiece. Gaze upon the most iconic Serpenti pieces from Bvlgari's cherished collection, each narrating its unique chronicle of design and unmatched craftsmanship.

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‘Serpenti’ by Refik Anadol

‘Serpenti’ by Refik Anadol has globetrotted from Milan to Madrid. Now, it graces DIFC. A symbiosis of art and technology, this multimedia marvel is the alchemy of AI and 200 million nature snapshots. Dive into this sensory overload as nature is transformed into digital artistry, juxtaposed with a curated Serpenti ensemble from Bvlgari’s archives.

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New Jewelry Wonders

As the Serpenti's legend evolves, Bvlgari unveils five dazzling High Jewelry masterpieces. From the ‘Crimson Rose Serpenti Necklace’ oozing passion to the ‘Tree of Life Serpenti’ narrating an emerald tale, and finally, the ‘Polaris Serpenti’ necklace shimmering in celestial elegance – these are tales of metamorphosis, of ageless beauty and of Bvlgari's unparalleled artistry. To those enamored by tales, legends, and sheer craftsmanship, welcome to Bvlgari's universe. Dive in, the tale continues.


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