Next year, Bulgari will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its iconic Serpenti Tubogas bracelets, which have snaked around the wrists of the rich and famous since Elizabeth Taylor made them globally desirable by wearing one on set while filming Cleopatra in 1962. But, while a simple retrospective might have seemed on the agenda to mark this milestone, the Italian jeweler instead teamed up with the pioneer of digital AI sculpture Refik Anadol to kick off its celebrations in London this month.
The jeweler has commissioned the artist to create an immersive installation that will be hosted by the Saatchi Gallery in London, following a stint in Milan’s Piazza Duomo last year. The installation Serpenti Metamorphosis features digital artworks controlled by artificial intelligence – which Anadol calls “Charlie”.
Over 200 minutes of nature images were fed into “Charlie,” and using machine learning, he created an undulating visual that mimics nature’s textures to convey serpentine evolution. Projected into an enclosed space, the experience is multi-sensory, with a natural AI-generated soundtrack accentuated by puffs of fragrance created by Anadol in collaboration with Swiss perfumer Firmenich. The perfume formula itself was suggested by ‘Charlie’ after processing 500,000 scent molecules.
“I feel like it’s really a dream state; a state that I don’t believe exists in the physical world,” Anadol says of Bulgari’s immersive experience. “It’s a completely algorithmic reality that doesn’t exist but feels very tangible.” More than just a branding exercise, Anadol says he hopes Serpenti Metamorphosis will spark feelings of “hope and positivity” toward “technology for humanity.”
As technologies such as AI open up creative possibilities and the metaverse becomes a more attractive space for luxury brands, more and more jewelers are experimenting with ways to transplant one of the world’s oldest hard luxuries. digital via digital art.
Jewelry brand Francis de Lara worked with fashion platform Brand New Vision to create non-fungible tokens of its gold-plated silver eyewear encrusted with real-world gemstones. These digital artworks can be worn in metaverse worlds, including Decentraland, where a scavenger hunt has been held for users to find and win a pair of limited-edition Eve glasses decorated with virtual Zambian emeralds and rubies. Mozambicans that mirrored their real-world counterparts mined by Gemfields. . Gemstone mining company Greenland Ruby has also digitized its gemstones, working with artist and jeweler Reena Ahluwalia to turn her “Fire Under Ice” painting of one of her stones into an NFT. It was listed for sale on OpenSea, the most popular platform for buying and selling digital collectibles, to raise funds for the miner’s PinkPolarBear foundation which helps polar research.
Jewelers reached out directly to specific digital communities in an effort to ingratiate themselves.
Los Angeles-based jeweler Neil Lane collaborated with Audrey Schilt, the fashion illustrator and creator of Ralph Lauren’s famous teddy bear character, to adorn one of the digital bears she posts on Collab Bears , the NFT site she co-founded.
Meanwhile, Tiffany & Co caused a stir when it debuted NFT in August exclusively with the CryptoPunk community, whose members collect a certain style of pixelated avatars. For 30 Ethereum each, the jeweler transformed 250 CryptoPunks avatars into personalized necklaces, which were produced both as NFTs and as coins of real-world gold, diamonds and gems.
Early access was granted to 100 people on August 3, and the entire race sold out two days later. It netted the jeweler somewhere in the region of $12 million, based on the price of cryptocurrency at that time.
New York-based jewelry designer Sarah Ysabel Dyne-Narici didn’t have to look far to find a digital artist who could turn one of her LoverGlyphs rings into a moving visual. Her cousin, British-Singaporean artist Kara Chin, has personalized the gold rings made by Dyne-Narici with hieroglyph-inspired symbols that tell her clients’ life stories. In the work created with Chin, each symbol and gem explodes and transforms into an object.
It took the cousins three weeks to create this “passionate project,” and Dyne-Narici says she recognizes the ability of digital art to bring the creativity of the old world of handmade jewelry to new eyes. . “Given the nature of precious materials, physical coins are inherently limited – rare,” she says. “Digital art, however, is the opposite; it allows connection to a wider audience. It is a sharing of universes on a larger scale. For me, it’s about showing objects through a different lens. Capturing a universe in a small object is exciting, but so is experiencing that universe digitally. Both are different languages, expressing the same vision.
Indeed, for most jewelers now collaborating with digital artists, it’s not about favoring one art form over another, or eschewing traditional craftsmanship for a futuristic fantasy. Instead, it’s just about exploring new possibilities and creative worlds – online or offline – where the two can sit side by side.
Just as Anadol’s Serpenti Metamorphosis aims to transport visitors beyond the everyday into an AI-generated world of escapism, the same exhibit will later ground them with solid objects that are physical touchpoints in the world. history through an exhibition of Bulgari Serpenti jewelry from the 1940s to modern day.
“In this project, the two disciplines become one and the same,” says Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari. “What we wanted to achieve was a true metamorphosis of the luxury experience through art – which can be understood both as the art of jewelry and as the digital art of Refik Anadol. Throughout history, luxury and art have often met, creating exciting unions, mixtures and solutions that the public has always appreciated.The same is true today for art and luxury 4.0 they must continue to dialogue in new forms that reflect a new society, experimenting with new forms of expression of beauty.