The BVLGARI Pavilion is a temporary installation commissioned by the prestigious luxury jewellery brand for Abu Dhabi Art 2012. The client’s brief was for the creation of space that was “audacious, unexpected, yet anchored in BVLGARI’s heritage”. The project was required to be both representative of BVLGARI’s style and its creative ideologies, whilst being emblematic of a “modern mythology”.
The reapproriation of something mundane and transforming it into something magnificent became the starting point for our design concept. In this sense a certain brutal honesty was desired in the final outcome so that the form was a self supporting entity in itself without the need for a separate internal structure; therefore the form was not merely a decorative veil. To achieve this however required careful consideration and analysis of both material and construction technique.
After a period of extensive prototyping and experimenting a design based upon the packing of acrylic tubes was devised. Acrylic tubes are an “off-the-shelf” product that comes in set lengths and diameters. Although they have a diverse range of uses they are rarely used as principal architectural elements. By packing them close together not only do they begin to form mass but also provide structural rigidity. Much like the rough gemstone the concept was to slice and cut, smooth and polish the form to result in new spaces and environmental conditions, to reinvent the material as something extraordinary and unique. Whilst attempting to create a wholly new spatial experience the team was also keen for it to simultaneously be something completely familiar, evocative of BVLGARI’s heritage. In this way it was decided to form arches, arcades and cupolas through the excavation and sculpting. As well as being exposed and translucent this method provided a recognizable enclosure and intimacy all be it an ethereal sensation of it.
In total the design consists of 2272 tubes with approximately 10,000 individual connections between them with a final weight of nearly 6 tones. During the day the pavilion plays and manipulates the changing conditions of the sunlight however at night the aim was to provide an alternative experience in which the light flowed through the structure like water constantly hiding and revealing different parts of the pavilion.
Project name:BVLGARI Pavilion
Company name:Not a Number Architects
Project location:Saadiyat al Manarat, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Building area (m²):300m2
Other participants:Madhav Kidao, Structure Workshop, UVA