MILAN — Bulgari succeeded in staging an installation in Milan with an exceptional visual impact.
The Rome-based jeweler partnered with award-winning new media artist and director Refik Anadol to create an immersive artwork — claimed to be the first conceived by artificial intelligence for a luxury brand — inspired by the concept of metamorphosis, embodied by Bulgari’s signature snake emblem.
A multisensory AI data sculpture, “Serpenti Metamorphosis” celebrates the beauty of nature through the elaboration and transformation of data by machine learning algorithms. The machine has the ability to learn what a flower is — its colors, patterns and shapes, and then it can dream of flowers that exist only in its synthetic memories, offering an alternative reality of nature, which mimics its textures and even its perfume.
Anadol also developed a special artwork utilizing a machine learning algorithm trained on more than 120,000 snake images, resulting in a digital representation of the reptile, a symbol of eternal life.
Jean-Christophe Babin, chief executive officer of Bulgari, said the work “is totally innovative in art and in art applied to luxury. It is the first gigantic work created to celebrate the icon of the brand Serpenti through 200 million real images digitally synthetized to recreate new flowers and new nature that maybe will exist in the future or maybe not, but are beautiful and astonishing.” Babin underscored that nature has always been a strong source of inspiration for the brand’s jewelry and jewel watches.
“Serpenti Metamorphosis” is installed outside Milan’s cathedral, in the city’s main square, Piazza Duomo, and is open to the public from Friday through Oct. 31, but it was conceived to be itinerant and will travel to other cities around the world.
Anadol underscored that within the 200 million photos, there were the images of 70 million flowers and that he “invented AI data painting inspired by the Renaissance as well as a pigmentation technique that transforms [the data] into poetic pigments. This is the new Renaissance, it’s a mission to dream of flowers, but also sculptures in 3D, music and scents.”
In fact, in order to offer a unique multisensorial immersive experience and capitalizing on Bulgari’s expertise in fragrance-making, the company and Anadol worked with perfume master Sophie Labbé and Firmenich to create the first AI-imagined fragrance called “Rainforest,” adding a further emotional dimension to the Bulgari Serpenti visual immersion.
Babin underscored that Bulgari already employs artificial intelligence “to optimize the supply chain and to manage the analysis of clients, but this is the first time we use it in an artistic way. This is a key project to support the Serpenti in the future through a unique creativity.”
Serpenti is increasingly a key Bulgari symbol, he underscored, one that “joins together the brand’s main categories, from jewels and watches to the bags.” Babin was just back from Paris, where the Bulgari Hotel will open shortly, and he related that the snake symbol was hand-engraved on glass in every room’s bathroom. The Serpenti emblem appeared in the late ’40s with the introduction of the sinuous Tubogas bracelet-watches and was increasingly key in the brand’s jewelry collections in the ‘60s.
Asked about the reasons for selecting Anadol, Babin compared him to Steve Jobs “at the time of the first computers. He is a genius in AI, nobody today has his talent to use AI in such a sophisticated and luxurious way. Let’s not forget Bulgari is the maximum of luxury.”
The Istanbul, Turkey-born media artist and director is a pioneer in the aesthetics of data and machine intelligence and said working with Bulgari was the first time his art could be presented with “such a scale and this level of execution.”
It will become the first large-scale, luxury-immersive, AI-driven non-fungible token piece of artwork when it’s converted into an auctioned NFT.
The proceeds will be donated to a charity to be decided by Anadol and Bulgari, which has committed to Save the Children since 2009 and has been at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic through the Bulgari Virus Free Fund.
“Serpenti Metamorphosis artwork will become exclusive and unique in the digital world thanks to NFT technology that uses the potential of blockchain, making a work of art unrepeatable in the digital universe,” said Babin.