Revealing a world of luxury
Renato Balestra, Stefano Ricci
houses Villa Corsini a Mezzomonte lifestyle and travel Boutique hotel in Florence
event Alexander Again at Montecarlo Yacht show worldwide must-sees New opening in Doha
Made in Florence
Why BBSPIRIT. There is great impetus that makes us passionate about the way in which we live. There is a beauty that we cannot define yet only recognize when we experience and live it, because it is the very source of our enthusiasm. There is a spirit, the BB Spirit, which is a little like the Baldi style: with an appreciation for uniqueness with a strong identity; with the energy to actively seek elegance and timeless art forms. These are the elements we use to confront new challenges every day. This is the ethos inspiring our own arte di vivere. Already from this first issue, the BB Spirit is a trait d’union that connects the many different facets of beauty, from the glitz and glimmer of the mega-yachts of Mondo Marine to the charming hills of the Chianti region, from some of the world’s most exclusive boutique hotels, villas and jewels to the Made in Italy high fashion and creations that never cease to inspire the world. It is a sense of Italian style which, far beyond each single product, becomes the prospect of a coherent and sophisticated world of luxury. Every aspect of this interpretation of life is bound to intense emotions. We, at Baldi, have begun a fascinating journey, which through this magazine and the new concept of the Baldi boutiques, cannot go unnoticed. This journey is an experience that is to be savoured to its fullest. Nothing here is meant to be solely recounted; this isn’t a mere information, but indeed a selection of experiences in the art of living that we are pleased to finally share with you. Always from the same perspective and refined eye with which we have enjoyed them.
Made in Florence
BBs p i r i t Summary BBVILLAS
- Villa Corsini
- Baldi at Villa Corsini
BBCONVERSATIONS The Corsini Family Colours
Warm and Ancient Amber
- The super Yacht: Alexander Again
- A Boutique Hotel in Florence
- JK Places in Capri
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
BBINSPIRATIONS - Stefano Ricci: The Gentlementâ€™s Gentleman
86 94 94
- Renato Balestra. A strong identity, full of energy
- Pasquale Bruni. Atelier of Jewels
BBBOUTIQUES Doha, Qatar
Villa Corsini. The 17th century Villa Corsini a Mezzomonte is situated just 7 kilometres south of Florence on the edge of the world-renowned Chianti wine-growing area. Set on a small hill (â€˜mezzo monteâ€™) and immersed in an iconic, timeless landscape of olive groves, vineyards and cypress trees, the large house is typical of aristocratic villas of its day and is constructed round an inner courtyard and bordered by formal walled gardens. The solid central tower has 360Â° views over the gently rolling countryside. 10
One of Tuscany’s great historic Villas. This villa is the last example in Tuscany of a Medici residence still in private hands. The structure of the building that we see today and its interior decoration is largely the work of Prince Giovan’ Carlo de’ Medici who bought the villa when he was only 18 years old and enlarged it, adding the long gallery, a private chapel and the eastern Italianate garden. Its grandiose interior spaces were decorated between 1630 and 1634 with superb frescoes on the walls and ceilings mainly featuring mythological and allegorical figures exalting the joys of country life, commissioned by the Prince from some of the leading artists of the day such as Giovanni Mannozzi, Francesco Albani, Domenico Cresti (‘Il Passignano’) and Pandolfo Sacchi. The villa was supposed to be a wedding gift for Princess Anna Maria Caraffa di Stigliano, the intended bride of Giovan’ Carlo, but the nuptials never took place and the prince (who then became a Cardinal), never actually took up residence in the house, but used it for banquets and other grand entertainment. At one point, it was reported that ‘The Prince’s parties in Mezzomonte obscured in splendour of those of the Court.’ In 1644, the Cardinal sold the villa to the Marquis Bartolomeo Andrea Corsini and today, eleven generations later, it is still in the Corsini family.
Baldi at villa Corsini:
Backstage at the photo shoot in one of the most celebrated houses in Tuscany. In October 2011, Baldi chose the historic Corsini villa as the backdrop for a photo shoot showcasing some of its most exclusive and precious objects. Not only did the opulent Renaissance interiors made a perfect setting for the project, but the Baldi family and Tommaso Corsini (the youngest of the present generation of the Marchesi Corsini and manager of the villa) formed a highly successful and productive working relationship. These pictures show Luca Baldi on set with assistants. Villa Corsiniâ€™s splendid halls were decorated with lavish frescoes and opulent fabrics in rich colours as befit an aristocratic residence of the time. Today, the same rooms, painstakingly restored to their original glory by the Corsini family, provide an appropriate setting for Baldiâ€™s princely collections. Behind-the-scenes shots show Luca Baldi in the villaâ€™s Psyche and Amore room discussing where best to place the objects.
This detail of the Yellow Drawing Room, showing the ‘Hermitage Vase’ standing on its column of the same malachite, is proof of how perfectly Baldi’s objects blend into the context of the villa. The vase harmoniously combines the essence of classic Italian taste with references to Russia’s Golden Age when, under the rule of Peter the Great, the tradition of mosaic worked in semi-precious stones emerged. It is an important piece, made today using the same 18th-century techniques whereby tiny pieces of malachite were painstakingly fitted together to form what seems to be a single block of vividly-coloured stone. These museum-quality pieces are entirely at home in this bright room, filled with the sunlight and breezes of a fresh Tuscan spring day. 15
The emergence of a unique style. The Studio or Study of San Giovanni is the most important room in the villa and it was named after the celebrated Florentine artist Giovanni da San Giovanni who, in 1633, painted the fresco that represents the expulsion of Eve. The fresco was so admired that the artist was asked to paint the ceiling of the Sala of Apollo in one of the most important museums in Italy, Florence’s Pitti Palace. The room was recently re-opened to the public after three years of restoration, and it is here that Baldi chose to place the ‘Fontainebleu’ writing desk, fashioned in malachite with delicate bronze detailing. A warm glow is created by the crystal and gilded bronze ‘Parigi’ table lamp on the left while the ‘Valerie’ clock keeps perfect time on its matching pedestal. 16
The splendid Gallery boasts floor to ceiling frescoes dating from 1631. It is the most important frescoed reception room in Tuscany and a fitting setting for Baldi’s exquisite craftsmanship. Its external wall is made up entirely of windows which overlook the villa’s secret Italianate garden. The gallery is famous for its trompe l’oeil perspective where the painted figures seem to be watching the observer wherever he stands. In the photo on the right, framing a classical painting of a female figure, two ‘Medici Uffizi’ urns supported by square ‘Uffizi’ columns are fashioned in precious amethyst. Under the painting, the matching ‘Riccioli’ console with its intricate legs supports a pair of elephant ‘Obelisco Bernini’ in amethyst and a purple crystal fruit dish, ‘Paraison’. The photo on the left shows a close up of the ‘Medici Uffizi’ urn. 18
More than any other room in a house, a ‘salle de bain’ is a space for dreams, and Baldi stages the opulent scene in a very personal way. The borderline between the functional and decorative aspects of the room no longer exists in a Baldi bathroom, so you may find a sofa, an arm chair, a console and other aesthetically pleasing pieces. In this photograph we see the ‘Riccioli’ console in amethyst supported on delicately worked legs standing beneath a ‘Marie Antonietta’mirror while two stunning ‘Tudor’ columns with their matching urns are made of finely-cut mauve crystal and finished with silver-plated bronze. Resting on the console is a rock crystal lavabo and a cut crystal and silver ‘Coccinella’ box. The centrepiece of the room is the round tub fashioned in pure amethyst that is spacious enough for three people: Cleopatra would have been quite at home bathing in milk in this spectacular bathtub.
With its walls of glowing, yellow-gold shot silk, this room is known as the Yellow Drawing Room or the Salone of Psyche and Amore, as these two mythical figures are portrayed in the ceiling frescoes. Originally the bedroom of Princess Anna Maria Caraffa, it makes a perfect setting for Baldi’s ‘Richlieu’ dining table in malachite and golden detailing. On the table stands a wide ‘Royal’ platter in crystal and a selection of glasses for wine, water and champagne with malachite or lapis bases and stems in crystal decorated with a fine gilded filigree. Against the back wall, the ‘Tripode fioriera Shar’ planter holds four perfect white orchids. 22
The yellow of the gold and the green of the malachite is the leit-motif in the Yellow Drawing Room, the glowing tint of the silk walls recalling the precious metal. Matching the oval dining table, the malachite ‘Side Board’ stands against the back wall, in perfect harmony with the room’s sumptuous décor: It holds a ‘Liqueur Bar’ in crystal and gilded bronze and a pair of rock crystal vases. Malachite is the protagonist here, the same semi-precious stone that is used in tiny pieces to make rings and necklaces now forms an entire collection. We also see the ‘Grandfather Clock’ and a matching ‘Lion et Amour’ candelabra. The close up of the eight-branch candelabra on the right shows the exquisite craftsmanship that is a feature of Baldi’s collections. The gilded bronze detailing is reflected in the glowing gold leaf on the door. 25
Originally the formal dining hall of the villa and one of its most important rooms, the Sala della Guardia, is dominated by a vast fireplace in typical Tuscan grey pietra serena stone. Traditional Tuscan fireplaces are characterised by their grand dimensions and the rooms in which they were sited were always the centre of the life in any villa such as this. This room houses the family crests of the three principal owners of the house along with a series of portraits of members of the Medici family. The fire casts a warm glow over the room and exalts these exquisite objects fashioned in velvet-brown tiger’s eye stone. Resting on the low ‘Ceasar’ coffee table in tiger’s eye is a pair of ‘Blackmore’ chalices. The ‘Richlieu’ console under the mirror is made of tiger’s eye and holds a crystal ‘Royal’ dish and a pair of ‘Pera’ vases. To the right of the console, the magnificent ‘Maria Antonietta Candelabra’ is made of yellow Sienese marble and is supported on the ‘Acanto’ column in amber-hued crystal. 27
The unique ‘Globe’ to the left of the fireplace (left) is made from tiger’s eye inlaid with semi-precious stones, crystal and gilded bronze, and opens to reveal a liqueur bar. The warm, flickering firelight is reflected in the gold trim on the delicate legs supporting the sphere which can be closed when not in use. The tall, delicate ‘Thomir’ multi-pronged candelabra (right) is loosely inspired by the work of Pierre-Philippe Thomir, a designer of lamps at the court of Napoleon. On the other side of the armchair, a ‘fiasco’ lamp provides soft light for reading. 28
The romantic Salone dei Putti (putti are nude children in art) was painted with frescoes in 1632 and linked the apartments of the Prince with those of the Princess. The frescoes show the putti playing games of the time which, curiously, includes golf! The windows, draped with opulent fabrics, overlook the Italianate garden and the room makes a fine setting for Baldiâ€™s rather feminine amethyst and silver pieces. 31
The Corsini Family. The Corsini family is one of a handful of aristocratic Florentine clans that helped shaped their cityâ€™s history. Originally from Poggibonsi and the Pesa valley (between Siena and Florence), the family arrived in the city in the late 1100â€™s and, by the 14th century had gained considerable power and wealth as merchants, politicians and men of the church. 32
Fragments of the history of one of Florence’s oldest families. Indeed, they supplied the Republic of Florence with 12 Priors and no less than 47 Gonfanoliers of Justice (this was one of the highest appointments in the city). Among the more distinguished Corsinis was Andrea, Bishop of Fiesole from 1349 until 1373, who was later sanctified for his life of penitence and devotion to the poor and needy. Filippo (1538-1601) and Bartolomeo Corsini (15451613) developed a successful banking and brokerage business and devised a rapid private postal service to connect them with their many European offices. In 1644 Pope Urban VIII granted the family the title of ‘Marchese’ and in 1730, Lorenzo Corsini became Pope Clement XII; among his numerous artistic achievements he founded the Capitoline Museums in Rome and commissioned many buildings and monuments including the celebrated Trevi fountain and the façade of San Giovanni in Laterano. One of the challenges facing the present-day owners of historic estates like Mezzomonte is how to preserve the artistic and cultural heritage handed to them, without sacrificing integrity. The present generation of Corsinis has found the perfect solution, which echoes Giovan Carlo’s original concept of the house: today it is once again used as an entertainment venue.
VILLA CORSINI a mezzomonte
The business side of the estate is managed by Tommaso, the youngest of the 13th generation of resident Corsinis. It was his great-grandfather who, in 1966, decided that the villa should once again be opened to guests through offering its magnificent rooms and extensive gardens for exclusive functions. Since that time, some 3,200 events including weddings, anniversary and engagement parties, corporate functions, art and fashion shows and conferences have been staged here, and approximately 450,000 guests from all over the world have passed through the 900 square metres of opulent, frescoed reception rooms and 20,000 square metres of grounds that include two Italianate gardens with their splendid views over the surrounding countryside. Tommaso Corsini takes his role very seriously indeed and feels a weighty responsibility for the future of Villa Corsini, one of Tuscany’s great historic houses. He and his team strive for perfection in every
single event that they host: ‘We make people’s dreams come true, ’ he says ‘and it makes no difference if our clients are high-profile A-list celebrities or Mr & Mrs Smith’. They will organise and oversee every stage of the planning from caterers to transport, from flowers to after-dinner music. Nothing is too much of a challenge. The bride wants to arrive at the villa in a hot air balloon? No problem. The groom’s mother has a penchant for deep purple peonies? Done. The CEO wants his guests entertained by fire-eaters? They’ll take care of it. The most important characteristic of any event staged at Villa Corsini, from the most discreet private dinner parties to the no-expense-spared bashes with 2,000 guests, is quality. And that is non-negotiable.
The setting of the 17th century Villa Corsini a Mezzomonte couldn’t be more classically Tuscan. Located in a typical landscape of olive groves, vineyards and cypress trees near the village of Mezzomonte just south of Florence, it is approached along an avenue of oak trees, a solid, white-painted house with the sort of square central tower that is often to be seen outlined against the skyline in this part of the world. The oldest part of the villa dates from 1300 and was once owned by Lorenzo the Magnificent, but it was given its present form by the Panciatichi family before passing into the hands of the erudite, cultured Prince Giovan Carlo de’ Medici (brother of Prince Ferdinand II) in 1629. Giovan Carlo never used the property as a country residence but rather as a ‘palazzo di campagna’, a country palazzo which was to serve as an entertainment venue, and with this in mind, he expanded the reception rooms and commissioned some of the most celebrated artists of the Medici court to decorate these grandiose spaces with paintings and frescoes. In 1644, the villa was sold to the Marchese Andrea Corsini and it has remained in the family ever since. 35
LUCA DINI DESIGN FIRENZE
MOTOR YACHT SEA FORCE ONE
The fascinating warm glow of amber inspires associations with antiquity, prosperity and luck. Named for the gemstone of fossilized tree resin, the warm orange-yellow colour, especially when reproduced in glass, is rich and multifaceted.
Warm and Ancient Amber. Ancient jewelry, modern home jewels. The Paleolithic people, and then the Greeks and Romans all used amber as decoration for jewelry and accessories. More than just adornment, the gemstone is also believed to bring good luck and longevity, and to help the eyes, glands, and digestive system.
Thanks to the association with the gemstone, it is no wonder that the colour has a long history of being used in rich interior settings that might transmit a similar feeling of wellbeing as the stone. The most famous of these is the Amber Room in the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo near Saint Petersburg, from the first decade of the eighteenth century, lost but now reconstructed thanks to Russian craftsmen. Craft, and the warmth of amber, is at the heart of creations like Baldiâ€™s oval cups, vases and lamps pictured on these pages. Each piece is handmade and unique. Blown glass transmits the magical hue, sculpted into pleasant forms, and ornamented with goldplated bronze accents that are a perfect complement to the ancient and warm colour.
1 - Round BOXES with floral and vegetal motif in gilded bronze 2 - Pair of handmade vases in luminous amber colour 3 - Dark amber elegant elongated oval cup with leaf motif 4 - A lamp in luminous amber 5 - Handmade perfection to display fruit, or on its own 6 Refined elegance for the dark amber ICE BUCKET and ornate bronze leaves 41
Chianti. The name is synonymous with idyllic landscapes, vineyards and olive groves, mellow villas and formidable castles that dominate the rolling, hilly terrain. And, of course, red wine. There are few famous sights and the only town, of any real note is Siena, but its quiet rural byways and charming medieval villages are enchanting, while its more sybaritic delights include a choice of superb country house hotels and several world-class Michelin-starred restaurants. 42
Geographically, Chianti refers to the area of Tuscany that lies between Florence and Siena, split north-to-south roughly down the middle by the SS222, a scenic road known as the Chiantigiana that connects the two cities passing through some of the most beautiful countryside. The road forms part of the route taken by the famous Mille Miglia classic car race that takes place in mid-May each year. Known as the gateway to Chianti, medieval Greve is a pretty market town built around the porticoed, triangular-shaped Piazza Matteotti and is the production centre of one of Italy’s best-selling wines. It is also home to the Antica Macelleria Falorni, a famous butcher who has been producing superb cured pork and beef products, such as salami with highly-prized white truffles since 1729. Another celebrated butcher has his shop in Panzano, an ancient village just south of Greve. Dario Cecchini has been dubbed ‘the Maestro of Meat’; his Officina della Bistecca restaurant is a carnivore’s paradise and the definitive place to eat the famous local speciality Florentine steack. The nearby hills are dotted with beautiful old villas such as the pink-hued 15th-century Vignamaggio which has an Italianate garden and was the birthplace of the noblewoman known as the ‘Mona Lisa’, immortalised by Leonardo da Vinci in his famous painting. The villa is now a comfortable hotel with a small spa, and the estate produces fine wines and olive oil. To the west of Panzano, situated in the midst of the Antinori wine estates, is the hamlet of Badia in Passignano, nestling in the shadow of a 11th-century Benedictine monastery. Apart from the gorgeous views, one of the main reasons to come here is the Michelin-starred Osteria di Passignano restaurant, located in the old Antinori wine cellars, which serves up a sophisticated take on the local cuisine accompanied by some of the region’s finest wines in elegant-rustic surroundings. East of the Chiantigiana lie the villages of Gaiole and Radda in Chianti and beyond, the ancient abbey of Badia a Coltibuono which was founded in 1041 by Benedictine monks who introduced viticulture into the area. Ancestors of the Stucchi-Prinetti family acquired the property in the mid 1800s; their descendants still live here today and run a successful wine and olive oil making business, a cooking school and a fine restaurant which offers elegant Tuscan cuisine with a twist and estate wines. Back on the SS222 and situated about half-way between Florence and Siena, Castellina in Chianti is one of the prettiest hilltop villages in the area; its imposing fortifications testify to its role as a bastion of Florentine 44
dominance over Siena in the 15th and 16th centuries. A short drive to the south is one of the major players in Chianti wine-making, Castello di Fonterutoli, the estate owned by the Marchese Mazzei whose forebears started making wine on this spot in the 1400s. They have an enoteca which can be booked for private tastings, state-of the-art cantine (cellars) which can also be visited by appointment and a good osteria where you can sample local country dishes. The story of wine-making in Chianti all started due east of here, in the Castello del Brolio, an imposing castle with 10th century origins where Baron Bettino Ricasoli, the so-called â€˜Iron Baronâ€™, started experimenting with the modern formula for making Chianti wine in the mid-19th century. The SS222 finishes in Siena, a must see for its celebrated fan-shaped campo (venue for the palio horse race), its crazily striped Duomo, its Civic Museum with superb trecento frescoes and its pinacoteca housing a magnificent collection of glowing paintings from the Sienese school. Thousands crowd into the campo on July 2nd and August 16th to see the worldâ€™s most famous bareback horserace, standing for hours under the beating sun. The hottest tickets in 46
the house are the balconies of the private palazzi surrounding the square which can be hired for the day so that you can have uninterrupted views of the action accompanied by champagne and canapés served by a dedicated butler. Part of the Certosa di Maggiano hotel, the two Michelin-starred Il Canto restaurant was voted one of the 50 best restaurants in the world in the 2011 San Pellegrino awards and is a fine place for a refined dinner. Chianti should be taken at a leisurely pace, leaving time to enjoy some of its more unusual activities. A dawn flight in a hot air balloon offers unique views of the countryside and can be followed by a champagne breakfast. Wild boar or pheasant shoots can be arranged on some of the area’s most exclusive estates: horse-riding too. Culture vultures can nip into Florence to catch the opening night of the opera in a box at the Maggio Musicale theatre or hire an expert guide for a private tour of the Vasari Corridor. To really appreciate the charms of the area, you need to stay, and there is no shortage of luxurious country hotels to choose from. Not far from Florence, Villa Mangiacane produces award-winning
wines on 600 acres near San Casciano Val di Pesa and is a small country hotel in grand style with spa and helipad which can also be rented for exclusive use. Another 5-star country retreat is the Castello del Nero which occupies a converted 12th century castle with superb ESPA spa, frescoed rooms and a Royal Suite that has a huge terrace with magnificent views over the surrounding countryside. Ferruccio Ferragamo’s estate, Il Borro, lies just to the east of Chianti, but it’s a great location for the Prada and Gucci outlet stores in the Valdarno. Ferragamo has converted several villas and a whole village into accommodation, the most exclusive of which is Villa Il Borro, a patrician country house in grand style that dates from the 19th century. It comes with pool, of course, gym, Turkish bath and sauna plus a full compliment of staff. For a truly princely experience, book one of the sumptuous suites at Relais La Suvera, the ex-papal residence now owned by a Marquis and a Princess and stuffed with priceless antiques. For a more exclusive experience, there are some truly spectacular villas and castles in Chianti that can be rented privately. 47
Montecarlo sets the scene for nautical luxury. Photos cannot do this city justice. The view coming into the sheltered harbour is spectacular, with views on the small city spreading out over the rock and into the sea. The preferred destination of the rich and famous for years, this exclusive resort town provides a range of activities and things to see, but the harbour is its signature, filled most of the year with private yachts, sailboats, and a cruise ship or two. This city on water is an ideal stage for the Monaco Yacht Show, which ever year showcases the greatest, most luxurious yachts and mega-yachts in the world. This is where Mondo Marine unveiled its latest creation in 2011. All aboard! 50
The Super Yacht: Alexander Again, a dream on the ocean.
The 49-meter yacht Alexander Again is the ownerâ€™s second commission from the same shipyard, the Savona-based Mondo Marine. This latest project by the leader in customized super-light yachts is an exercise in luxury. Measuring 49.15 meters in length and 9 meters in width, its external lines were drawn by Greek architect Giorgio Vafiadis, while all the interior and exterior spaces are the work of Florentine designer Luca Dini.
Mondo Marine, where every yacht is one-of-a-kind. ‘From a design on a piece of paper to the finished product, a super-yacht.‘ It is with this simplicity that brothers, Ferruccio and Elio Stroppiana, describe the philosophy of Mondo Marine. ‘At the base of every Mondo Marine project is sentiment, emotion. We work with the same philosophy as the founders of the shipyard: ‘A yacht should always be modelled on the needs and desires of its owners, and we find a way to give shape to the owner’s dreams. Designing the interior of a yacht is a bit like dressing someone; indeed, it is like finding the perfect outfit for the owner.‘
Luca Dini, designer. The making of the furnishings, both internally and externally, of Alexander Again is a true expression of the concept of custommade craftsmanship. The owner was present in every phase – from the design to prototyping and then the realization. Every object on board is unique because each one was handpicked. This philosophy and approach to interior design is innovative in today’s nautical sector; it recalls the 1980s, when every single piece of furniture was designed and built for a specific purpose. We thus avoided using the decorative accessories of famous brands in the industry, and opted to rediscover a new space for top-quality craftsmanship, and sought out quality and highlyskilled artisans that worked under the masterful direction of a professional designer. Preparations for the yacht’s furnishings took two and a half years, during which I met with the owner every two months. Baldi products were selected for the interiors precisely because they reflect the essence of this spirit of great craftsmanship and high quality. Each creation at Baldi is unique, an expression of timeless beauty. 55
Alexander Again is total luxury on water. The essential white exterior hides a dramatic, custom-made interior full of contrasts and quality craftsmanship. Looking at it careen on the water, Alexander Again is recognizable and stylish. But the majestic style coupled with the yacht’s comfortable dimensions make it luxury on water.
The aft sides of its three decks flow into a curve that lends it visual unity for a feminine yet affirmed silhouette. A swimming pool, whirlpool and numerous outside entertainment areas are almost uniformly white to best highlight the blue sea and skies of the Mediterranean. On the main deck is an ample salon with living and dining areas. The latter is of course connected to the kitchen, while the other side is connected to the owner’s ample and luxurious suite. All the areas of passage are paved in marble and decorated with small but precious works of art. The lower deck is entirely dedicated to guests, with four cabins. At the top level is another living room and the owner’s office. 56
The aluminium yacht has ample living and entertaining space for the owner, who can host up to ten guests in VIP cabins, each with a private bath. In addition, the service and crew zones, as well as the captainâ€™s cabin, are perfectly distributed for seamless luxury during marine life. Alexander Again is equipped with a pair of MTU 16V 4000 M90 engines for a total horsepower of 7,300. As with other projects by Mondo Marine, structural, hydrodynamics and engineering aspects were drafted by Mondo Marine Engineering. The boat was built at their seafront shipyard of 35,000 square-meters that is equipped with a travel-lift that takes 820 tonnes, the largest in the Mediterranean!
of contrasts, illuminated by Baldi. Offsetting the moderate and white hull, Alexander Again boasts a grand and dramatic interior with a luxurious and classic style. Dini and his design team translated Egyptian and Greco-Roman influences into a contemporary palette of elements that make up the yachtâ€™s intricately classical interior. The result is an atmosphere that embraces, invitingly coercing one to celebrate comfort and luxury. The crystal and gilded bronze of Baldiâ€™s lighting and accessories add the final touch to this modern interior in highly polished rosewood, glossy black lacquer, gold trims and cream coloured fabrics. For example, in the grand salon and dining areas on the main deck, floor and desk lamps with crystal stems and silk coverings, finished with handmade gilt bronze details, blend perfectly with the custom furniture and silk drapes of the opulent interior. 59
The master bath is an original space that encourages the art of relaxation. The marble-ringed whirlpool tub, at the side of which sits a crystal champagne set by Baldi, is beautified by a mosaic reproduction of a painting of Danae by Klimt. Mauve and silver boudoir pieces and candelabra in blown crystal with handcrafted silver accents, all made according to Florenceâ€™s centuries-old craftsmanship, warm up the space by the sink. 60
An atmosphere that embraces, comforts and offers luxury. Room service is presented here on a hand-blown clear crystal tray by Baldi, topped with a gold leaf breakfast set in tone with the yachtâ€™s majestic, classical dĂŠcor. At the bedside, a reading lamp and toilette containers casually contain personal items in this elegant guest room. Silk sheets and the gold accents throughout give the room a relaxing, luxurious feel.
On the Versailles reproduction buffet, a handmade crystal lamp with a stark white shade, the boxes, and bowl of the highest quality are reflected in a full-wall mirror. The light emanating from the lamp gives the master suite a soft, warm feel. The hand-blown jewellery boxes contain treasures almost as unique as the boxes themselves. These elements make the master suite the perfect place to seek privacy, whether it be relaxing with a good book or preparing for an elegant evening out on the town.
Let there be luxury. Let there be light. With the yacht’s interior style found in the contrast between dark and light, illumination indoors plays an important role. The use of precious and highly polished surfaces of marble and lacquer of the furniture and doorways are lit up with Baldi’s unique wall and table lighting. Embedded light is given added ambiance with handcrafted accents, such as the small silver and onyx appliqué on the wall light to the left, and the dramatic cascade of crystal and tooled gold appliqué in the hallway. Intimate spaces are created with table-lamps whose simple shades top intricately handcrafted bases. 65
In the ownerâ€™s suite and the office, a floor lamp by Baldi in clear crystal with a marble base and straw-coloured bronze details is right at home next to the divan with its playful gold scroll. The golden hues of the window treatments, glossy lacquer desk and cushioned chair in the photo on the right are seen again in the gold leaf accents of the black crystal table lamp and its golden brown light shade. The blownglass containers in clear and black crystal and topped with handcrafted golden handles are the perfect addition to the decor of this space. 66
© Stefano Ricci SpA, Florence 2012 - “The Test of True Love” © Jack Vettriano: Heatbreak, London.
A Boutique Hotel in Florence. JK Place has 20 stylish rooms, no two alike. In these spaces, a mix of clean lines, art-deco touches and leopard prints come together in the grand Renaissance spaces with high ceilings and dramatic doorways. Opened in 2003, JK Place is one of Florenceâ€™s first boutique hotels and overlooks the beautiful piazza of Santa Maria Novella. This former home was transformed into a small yet sleek property that continues to have a homely feel, boasting a sense of privacy and service seldom found elsewhere. Each space is beautifully fitted with a variety of decor items from different eras that mix traditional artisan production with a modern aesthetic. 70
Passion for Life:
JK Place is a palazzo with a view. Florence. The city of the Renaissance and of artisan traditions that go back centuries. Of terracotta rooftops, famous churches and grand palazzos. Just steps away from the city’s Santa Maria Novella train station and the church of the same name with its harmonious Renaissance façade by Leon Battista Alberti is JK Place, one of the world’s finest boutique hotels. As Alberti before him, Florentine architect Michele Bönan, who was responsible for the JK Place restoration, feels strongly about the role of the past in addressing a contemporary project. ‘Even the most contemporary themes may be interpreted in a key that is sensual and rich, full of taste and style.‘ Indeed, this modern-meets-past effect is perfectly balanced in the public and private spaces of this hotel that used to be a private home.
JK Place is the perfect set for Baldi. A chat with Luca Bojola. Designer and art director, Baldi ‘Looking to the future, with an eye on the past is the slogan I can say embodies my work at Baldi. If the heart of Baldi’s history and tradition has always rested on the strong artistic and artisanal foundations of the Florentine tradition of craftsmanship, the company today moves quickly through a variety of stimuli and transverse influences; it is no longer a static past but now, fast moving. Today, each element and person that makes up this company moves, intersects, and overlaps. Classic and modern are no longer opposites that cannot meet. There is need to develop and make the most of opposites like old materials and new materials, synthetic lines and elaborate forms of opulence and minimalism. This is how I resolve working with a classical company with my contemporary heart.’
The hotel’s lobby, with its welcoming wood fireplace, is more like the living room of a fantastic home than of a hotel. The warmth of the fire is reflected in the cool ice bucket, goblet set and clear crystal tray with silver plated bronze accents that are entirely made by hand. 74
This sitting room at JK mixes hard colours like black and white with more subdued taupes and greys for a decidedly masculine feel. A desk lamp by Baldi in fumĂŠ crystal with a dark taupe silk lampshade has just the right lines for a contemporary space like this. Next to it sits a crystal fruit bowl that stands upon silver plated bronze feet, filled with oranges to make clients feel right at home. 77
Where classic and modern styles become pure luxury. Bönan’s concept of luxury for JK Place is timeless and sophisticated. In the public areas, an austere wooden floor painted black sets the stage for a mix of stylistic philosophies that are harmoniously joined together, such as a Charles X fireplace and objects from the 1970’s, a stately neoclassical bookcase, animalier armchairs, 1950’s as well as modern lamps, all in a rigorous play on black and white that pretends to imitate minimalism but is highly and successfully calculated. Here, pieces from Baldi’s contemporary collection, Ice, are a perfect fit. Select pieces, fine craftsmanship, and elegant, modern designs that effortlessly mix with classic styles from the past are a winning combination, giving an unquestionable sense of luxury.
Subtle details make the hotel feel like a home, including the provision of many books in the common areas, to browse or to read, perhaps while sipping in a drink in a handmade black goblet, pictured here alongside an elegant, modern lamp by Baldi. 78
Any space, no matter how clean and contemporary, needs a few precious and personal objects. Whether functional or as art pieces, items like Baldiâ€™s small crystal box with onyx and mother of pearl inserts, or the handcrafted crystal vase with silver plated accents and reinterpreted in modern lines are a perfect fit in the contemporary home or hotel. 81
Typical of the interior dĂŠcor at JK Place is the grandness of the past, seen in the tall ceilings and impressive doors, adapted to the clean and functional lines of modern tastes. The Baldi lamp, pictured at right, is perfect in this setting, combining historic techniques, like mouth blown crystal and lost wax bronze casting, with sleek modern lines for a new sensibility. Its black crystal stem and marble base show off prized materials and workmanship, while the style evokes historical candelabra but with a fresh, new feel. 82
JK Place in Capri A view on the Bay of Naples.
From the most beautiful city views in Tuscany to the poshest isle in the Mediterranean, JK Place has a second boutique hotel in the Capri, an island paradise just off the coast of Naples. Capri has attracted Europeâ€™s rich and famous for decades, thanks to its spectacular views of the Bay of Naples and its imposing Mount Vesuvius, as well as for its luxurious shopping and dining opportunities. Located on cliff above the Capri town of Marina Grande, JK Place Capri 84
boasts the same clean elegant lines of its sibling property in Florence, but with a dash of marine style. The colonnaded bar terrace and sea view rooms will make you feel like you are floating on water and its elegantly designed rooms and top-quality restaurant attracts an exclusive group of international jet setters. JK Place Capri was named Hotel of the Year in 2008 by Tatler magazine, and has been listed in The Worldâ€™s Greatest Hotels, Spas & Resorts, a book published by the renowned Travel & Leisure magazine, which reviews the worldâ€™s most exclusive and refined hotels.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Around the world looking for a masterpiece to showcase. Imagine yourself in Amazonia… imposing green trees form an umbrella over your head, nearby you can hear the rush of a waterfall. There’s a natural pool in which you slip to cool off, light filtering through to reflect on the water… The closest you could get to this experience outside the Amazon would be bathing in one of Baldi’s two rock crystal bathtubs. The story of these ‘sister’ tubs (for they cannot be twins, being sculpted by hand) is an amazing feat of creativity and workmanship.
After creating rock crystal washbasins, designer Luca Bojola says, ‘We wondered what a bathtub might look like in this material, if we could ever find a block so large?’ This block turned up in Brazil in 2006, and Paolo Baldi, father of the company’s current CEO, Luca Baldi, did everything to lay his hands on it. Why? Luca explains: ‘We wanted to create the wildest, craziest, most beautiful and luxurious object ever imagined for a bathroom’ Unafraid of challenges, and with a strong desire to experiment, coupled with the technological know-how required to pull off such a feat, they seized the opportunity to work on this miraculous block of rock crystal to make a one-of-a-kind piece to showcase to the world.
10,450 kilograms for the wildest object ever imagined in a bathroom. The rock weighed 10,450 kilograms, so its overseas transportation was no small feat, requiring special cranes and crates. The colossal boulder is composed of quartz and has the splendour and transparency of a diamond. When it arrived at Pietrasanta, a town in Tuscany historically known for its marble deposits and carvers, Luca Bojola found himself in front of a project of Michelangelesque dimensions, but working under the deadline of Milanâ€™s Salone del Mobile just three months hence. He studied this gift from nature and decided to transform the unique crystal rock into two of the most luxurious bathtubs the world had ever seen.
Technology marries tradition. Bojola and his team addressed this challenge with energy and enthusiasm, combining modern technology with centuriesold craftsmanship. Careful measurements, drawings and plans were made to ensure that the tubs would drain perfectly and be comfortable to bathe in. Then, it was time to start cutting. Like in Michelangeloâ€™s sculptures of Carrara marble, they would not know how perfect the rock was until they started working it.
The first step was to saw the rock into two halves. Then, carving with the traditional hand tools of the sculptor, first large picks are used to roughly shape the block. Once the basic shape was almost reached, the sculpting tools used were progressively more precise until it was time to use comb chisels. The final touches were given with various levels of sandpaper. Hundreds of hours of sanding were required to develop the incredibly smooth interior of the tub. The outside was intentionally left untouched to highlight the contrast between nature and workmanship.
Two unique pieces for two unique displays. Two bathtubs, each large enough to comfortably bathe two people at the same time, were carved from this amazing crystal stone. The first bathtub was presented at Milanâ€™s Salone del Mobile in 2008 in a eye-catching display that brought out itâ€™s nature colour and light. Such a success, it was purchased during the international furniture fair by a Russian magnate. Two years later, the second rock crystal tub was displayed at the 2010 show in Milan, and then transported to London, where it was showcased at Harrods. Installed in the prestigious main window display of Harrods in Brompton Road, the second bathtub was another resounding success. Shoppers and passersby were hypnotized by its natural transparency and reflective luminosity. The raw outside and the smooth, soulful inside provided such a stunning contrast that people in the streets often stopped to take photographs and admire at length this incredible piece of pure luxury.
Stefano Ricci: The Gentleman’s Gentleman. Stefano Ricci is the quintessential Florentine designer. A pillar of Italian style and bespoke tailoring, the Stefano Ricci brand has become a worldwide symbol of made in Italy excellence for men’s luxury fashion. Never sacrificing quality over quantity, the Stefano Ricci collections demonstrate the high quality and craftsmanship of haute couture production. All collections have been designed and produced entirely in Italy since 1972. The Stefano Ricci menswear collections range from classic tailored suits, shirts, accessories, casualwear and made to measure customized collections. The brand also extends to leather goods, cufflinks and luxury home furnishings. The Stefano Ricci fashion house boasts more than 25 flagship stores worldwide, hence making the brand a true global ambassador of the made in Italy style. Just a few years ago the Ricci family opened one of its largest and most prestigious boutiques within Florence’s famed Palazzo Tornabuoni. Today, the Stefano Ricci brand is proud to celebrate their 40 years of bespoke tailoring and tradition. 94
Men and style:
Made in Italy, of course.
Born in the city of Florence, home to international fashion icons like Gucci, Ferragamo and Pucci, Stefano Ricci began appreciating art at an early age and was decisive in his choice to enter the world of fashion. ‘I’m Florentine, you know, and I have the privilege of living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world with a long history of art and excellent craftsmanship.’ The city’s historic values of excellence in production have become hallmarks of the Stefano Ricci label. Still very much a family affair, Stefano Ricci’s wife and sons have had a large role in the brand’s success over the years. Having his sons involved in managing the business aspects of the company has allowed Stefano Ricci to stay close to the workshop and creation of his products. He still personally selects the materials and designs the fabrics he uses for each of his garments. Another role in the company is played by generations of master craftsmen in Florence, who ensure the quality of each piece which includes cutting and stitching the brand’s tailored suits, shirts, sportswear, and leather goods. To guarantee this level of high quality, every measure of the manufacturing process has been and still is strictly produced in-house. Excellence is the brand’s philosophy and Stefano Ricci’s clients find it in every fibre and stitch of the collections. Stefano Ricci’s exclusive clients value the rare materials, sophisticated details, unique colour tones, and classic yet contemporary style that is celebrated by the brand. Each bespoke suit, custom tailored shirt and hand-woven silk tie is the fashion innovator’s tribute to refined style. ‘I have a mission: I want to design garments for the wardrobe of a man who already has everything. Nevertheless who appreciates rare and precious materials, sophisticated details, exclusive prints, unseen shades of colours, and a style which is classic but also quite different and personal.’ - Stefano Ricci
Family Passions: Fine Fibres, Falcons and Vintage Cars. Convinced that no machine could ever replace a pair of highly skilled hands, Stefano Ricciâ€™s master tailors are exceptional artisans who bring passion and spirit to each garment. This is why the Florence based brand has decided to invest further in Tuscany, opening a workshop and production facility in the hills of Fiesole, so that it can produce every garment internally. This is also why the Stefano Ricci fashion house purchased from the Pucci family an ancient silk weaving workshop, the Antico Setificio Fiorentino. Since 1786, this historical workshop has produced the most precious and delicate silks and brocades on centuriesold looms to this day. Their long heritage of knowledge, historic techniques and unmistakable excellence has served noble palaces, courts and castles throughout the world for centuries.
Stefano Ricci’s pursuit of perfection is also evident in his private life with his two biggest passions, falcons and rare vintage cars. The falcon is Stefano Ricci’s favourite animal as it symbolizes the superiority, spirit, light, freedom and aspirations of the Stefano Ricci brand. As an avid vintage car collector, he participates every year with his two sons, Niccolò and Filippo, in Italy’s historic 1000 Miglia vintage race. The Stefano Ricci brand became a major sponsor of this reputable race featuring almost 400 vintage cars. Stefano Ricci also created the Stefano Ricci Gentleman Driver’s Trophy, a special style award dedicated to the individual clothing and accessories of the crews. ‘Every classic car represents a specific moment of our society, like fashion. This award will be a real tribute to the contemporary style between the crews and the historic time frame in which their vehicles were constructed’ - Stefano Ricci.
Italian style on the runway. Steeped in centuries-old traditions of beauty and craftsmanship, Italy has given the world many creative talents. One of these is Italian haute couture fashion designer Renato Balestra. Born to create beauty and elegance, Balestra began exploring his artistic passions at a young age. When several of his dress designs were sent on a whim to a professional designer in the city of Milan, he made his official leap into the world of haute couture fashions. His pieces were so well received in the Italyâ€™s fashion capital that Balestra was immediately invited to present a haute couture collection at the legendary Florentine fashion shows of the 1950s. 100
Renato Balestra. A strong identity, full of energy.
One of the first Italian designers to bring the Made in Italy label to Hollywood, Balestra credits much of his international fame to the fashion shows organized by Giovanni Battista Giorgini in Florence’s Palazzo Pitti. There, he showcased his intricate designs to a handful of American buyers, who began singing his praise to socialites across the Atlantic. It was his break in the international market, and his pieces soon entered the wardrobes of world’s rich and famous. Among his star-studded clientele is the Queen of Thailand, the Empress of Iran, the First Lady of Egypt, the First Lady of the Philippines and many famous Hollywood starlets. Today, he is a leader in the fashion world, with over 30 collections that range from accessories, fragrances and cosmetics to home products and clothing for both men and women, including costumes for both the theatre and cinema. It comes as no surprise to learn that Baldi also chose Balestra’s elegant gowns in its latest photoshoot. What makes Balestra’s designs extraordinary is his extreme attention to detail. He embraces the Italian style in every one of his collections, using top-quality textiles and materials, vibrant colors and prints. Drawn from the beauty of Italy’s long-standing tradition of quality craftsmanship, each Balestra dress is elegant and sophisticated. Pure silk and fine fabrics, exquisite detail, brilliant colors, and a sophisticated elegance define the label.
The materials used and the various shapes, colours and textures compliment each model differently. The use of metallic turquoise and bright orange are eye-catching. The flowing, vibrant fabrics, ruffles, and intricate details made of metallic accents and embroidery show the aspect of beauty and luxury, two traits that have made Italian style the standard for the rest of the world. The Baldi and Balestra brands have the same mantra: excellence in craftsmanship, high-quality materials and one-of-a-kind pieces. Like every Baldi creation, each dress made by Balestra is hand-crafted, with every detail carefully taken into consideration. No two products are the same. The delicate materials, prints, and complimentary colors mirror the elegance of the models.
An unmistakable signature style. In the 1990s he was called ’the couturier of jewellery’, and the flattering label has stuck ever since. Pasquale Bruni has much in common with the big-hitters of the fashion world, starting with his life story that has a certain fairy-tale quality. Born in Southern Italy, as a very young man he moved to the little town of Valenza Po, not far from Milan, where he was fascinated by the tradition of working with gold and precious stones. He was fortunate to learn his craft in the workshops of master jewellers Camurati and Ubertone which produced pieces worthy of a place in the Arabian Nights. In the following decades, when Valenza became the jewellery capital of Italy, Pasquale Bruni’s work stood out from the crowd. You don’t have to see the label to recognise his creations: his signature style and flawless execution are immediately identifiable in the same way as a piece of clothing by a top designer. 104
Atelier of Jewels.
Today, his jewellery is sold in the most exclusive stores while the Pasquale Bruni boutiques (designed by David Chipperfield) enjoy the chicest addresses such as the Place Vendôme in Paris and Via della Spiga in Milan. Bruni opened last December in Rome in Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina, just before the inauguration of the Luis Vuitton shop on the opposite side of the square. There are other flagship stores in Moscow and Doha, and there is already talk of openings in London and New York. Time and success have not diminished Bruni’s enthusiasm, and two years ago, he set up a specialised workshop within his factory dedicated to making limited edition masterpieces. ‘These pieces are made by the most experienced master goldsmiths, ” he explains: “I wanted to work with them in order that they could pass the secrets of the Valenzian tradition on to the younger generation’. These words are proof of an ongoing passion for his work that Bruni has passed on to his children Daniel and Eugenia whom he has entrusted with the artistic direction of the company. Eugenia loves dressing a woman with jewels to befit a queen, and the pieces, while very contemporary, are rich with references to the treasures of the great royal dynasties of the past. She likes to recall iconic women such as Princess Diana or Princess Sissi: ‘The Austrian princess is our ideal woman’, she says ‘because for a start, she broke free of royal protocol in favour of spontaneity of feeling. For the collection dedicated to her we invented a new way of cutting the stones: on the top they are in the form of cabochons while the sides are faceted. The shape is rather ambiguous and mysterious, just like Sissi’s personality’. Intrigued by the mystery of the female universe, Eugenia Bruni nurtures her love for Eastern cultures through practising yoga. A perfect fusion of East and West, the Mandela collection was inspired by the transparency of the windows in Gothic cathedrals and the mystical mandalas of Buddhist monks. The stones are selected with the utmost care, prioritising those which transmit positive energy and a perfect harmony of colours.
Bon Ton, which Eugenia affectionately calls ‘the perfect collection’, embodies the DNA of the Italian company. The protagonist is a flower, fashioned from a gem ‘whose facets create the effect of dew’ says Eugenia. ‘ A Bon Ton ring is deceptively simple, but the style and colours make it a jewel for every occasion, extremely rich in attention to detail, even on the sides that are hidden from view. My father taught us to resist the temptation to simplify as this would compromise that delicate balance between aesthetic and technical elements which is really ‘the secret of our jewels’. We’ll conclude with a suggestion: do not try to guess whether a jewel was designed by Eugenia or by her father, because their personalities fit and compliment each other in surprising ways. You would expect, for example, that prestigious collections such as the famous ‘Ghirlanda’ would be the work of Pasquale, but in fact it was designed by his daughter while some of the most ‘youthful’ pieces are his own. This is proof that even after nearly half a century, Pasquale Bruni is as enthusiastic for his work as he was at the outset.
Doha, Qatar. A jewel in the Arabian Gulf, the city of Doha is a thriving, bustling economic hub in the country of Qatar. With approximately 80 percent of the population living in Doha and environs, Doha has become an exciting cosmopolitan city with a fascinating mix of traditional Arabic combined with modern architecture. Surrounded by the oil- and gas-rich deserts and salt flats that have made the country of Qatar one of the richest in the world, Dohaâ€™s colourful and illuminated skyrises, world-class marinas, luxury hotels and shopping, and a very cosmopolitan population make it one of the most exciting cities in the Middle East. Thanks to Qatarâ€™s wealth of natural resources, Doha is developing quickly, becoming a formidable example of a prosperous nation that is full of optimism and brimming with potential. 110
Fashionable boutique, on the other side of the world.
From the natural environment of the West Bay Lagoon along the coast to the Pearl-Qatar, an artificial residential island located the downtown core, Doha is a thriving international hub that attracts business travellers and tourists from across the world who come to enjoy the cityâ€™s business and commercial districts, as well as its exciting entertainment district, luxury shopping and leisure facilities, including two extensive golf courses and many opportunities for water-sports. Counting over one million residents, the majority of people who live in Doha come from other countries in Asia, Europe and North America. This has made the city a veritable crossroads of cultures, bringing together the fashionable and trend-setting elite of Qatar and the world at large. It is at the forefront of culture and commerce in the Middle East, offering the newest ideas and concepts from across the globe. Here, visitors have the unique opportunity to sample and find exclusive high-end brands, products and fashions, made by both regional and internationally renowned designers, the majority of which have opened flagship stores and high-end boutiques in Doha.
It is evident that Qatar is more than than oil and business. The country is making great efforts to promote and host unrivalled cultural and sporting events, as well as offer some of the Gulf’s most innovative educational opportunities. Since its opening in December 2008, the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha has become an international attraction for art lovers. With a wellestablished reputation of hosting world-class sports events, among them the ATP tennis tournaments, PGA golfing fixtures, and the Asian Cup and Pan Arab Games in 2011, the city of Doha will be hosting the men’s Handball World Championship in 2015 and the FIFA World Cup in 2022. Major universities from across the world have opened branch campuses in Doha’s prestigious Education City, an area devoted to research and education that is setting a new standard of educational excellence in the region.
The boutique in Doha, a new sense of sophistication. Baldi’s decision to open a boutique in Doha came naturally. Doha is a vibrant city with great potential. It continues to grow and develop into a world-class urban centre on the coast of the Arabian Gulf, and affirming its presence in the city was a strategic choice for Baldi. With much of its clientele coming from the Middle East, and Qatar in particular, the Baldi family jumped at the opportunity to open a boutique in the city of Doha. The uniqueness of the Baldi boutique in Doha is the result of Baldi’s close ties with the Ali Bin Ali family, patrons of Baldi home jewels that have become great friends of the Baldi family. Due to Doha’s modern spirit and style, the aim was giving the boutique a cuttingedge interior design. That is why Baldi and its partners, Mona and Nadine Ali Bin Ali, wanted to express the luxurious interior design styles that have always been representative of New York and Paris and bring them to the boutique in Doha, a city of great potential
When patrons become friends. When the Baldi family strengthened their friendship with Dohabased clients, the Ali Bin Ali family, the decision to open the boutique in the capital of Qatar quickly became a reality. Mona and Nadine Ali Bin Ali welcomed the idea of investing in a Baldi boutique in Doha with open arms, knowing the exquisite design and fine quality of Baldi’s creations and their great value in the luxury market. Although they were new to the market, they knew much about the superior quality of Baldi’s creations having pieces of the Baldi collections decorating their home in Doha. Today, they are the perfect ambassadors of the refined Italian style and elegance of the Baldi spirit and lifestyle. And who better to represent Baldi in Qatar than a family that was first a patron of Baldi, and that now has become a close family friend.
and the perfect stage on which to showcase these traditional ideals of deisgn and style. “The design concept of the Baldi boutiques is that of linking the Italian baroque tradition with the clean, sleek lines of a modern design that best highlights the collection. Our concept is creating a space that is capable of expressing the Baldi spirit, a champion of international luxury and craftsmanship. We believe that our collections are best enhanced in a contemporary context,” says Baldi designer Luca Bojola. 115
The world of Baldi in Doha. The Baldi family was present at the Doha boutique’s opening, which turned out to be a veritable VIP affair. Tantalizing appetizers, freshly cut flowers and Baldi’s exquisite home jewels were the stars of the event that launched the Baldi lifestyle in yet another prestigious international city. Indeed, Baldi’s design of the 100 square-metre boutique in Doha is the result of a more sophisticated interpretation of space. The interior colours and style of the boutique are characterized by the contrast between the richness and colour of the collections on display and the clean, modern lines of the boutique itself. The white central staircase spiralling up to the first floor gives an added touch of prestige to the showroom. The well-designed illumination is beautified with Baldi chandeliers, lamps and wall fixtures that put the spotlight on Baldi’s unique pieces. With black and white dominating the space, Baldi’s one-of-a-kind pieces range from furniture to illumination and home decor jewels that feature a range of handcrafted motifs in gilded bronze and silver. The overall effect of the Doha showroom is meant to enhance the unique identity and fine craftsmanship of each piece on display.
The Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs. Mona Ali Bin Ali and her husband Hassan Ali Bin Ali, also devote much of their time to children with special needs. Mr. Ali is chairman of the The Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs, established in 1998 under the authority of the chairperson of the Supreme Council of Family Affairs, Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser AL-Missned. The Shafallah Center has evolved since its opening thanks to generous contributions and support from various governmental institutions and from national and foreign companies. The new Shafallah Center was designed and constructed in accordance with the highest standards and latest developments in the field of children with special needs, and today is well equipped to meet the needs of all the children, whatever their physical and developmental disability. The Center aims to provide all children with the best care, services and educational facilities to enable them to adapt to their surrounding environment. 116
Backstage with Baldi. Central to Baldiâ€™s latest marketing campaign was an elaborate, fashion-inspired photo shoot, set in the interior spaces of an elegant private Tuscan villa that was built in the Renaissance, and renovated and expanded in the eighteenth century. Complete with an Italian-style garden, the historic villa was the ideal setting for Baldiâ€™s opulent creations, placed in the elaborate architectural settings and perfectly paired, with an even more elaborately dressed model. Here in the photo on the right is an aerial shot of part of the shoot in a room used for entertaining that is adorned with frescos and red and white marble flooring. 118
It’s time to talk about us.
Baldi seeks to be an example across the world of Italy’s long-standing traditions in art, craftsmanship, style and elegance. Pieces made of precious stones—such as amethyst and malachite, and enriched with the gold and bronze accents and hand blown crystal and glass pieces made by hand by Florentine artisans—set in the backdrop of an elegantly opulent Tuscan villa, ornate with frescoes, high ceilings, and the architectural details and trimmings of eras past. Thus, the new campaign seeks to strengthen the brand’s image both in Italy and abroad. The use of female models, adorned in diamonds and jewels and wearing Renato Balestra’s haute couture fashions, were introduced for the time to recall the dazzling and luxurious nature of Baldi’s unique, handmade creations for the home. In this sense, the creative force of the Baldi brand is strengthened further by similar staples of Italian style: the Renaissance and Baroque architecture and accents of the villa; the intricate evening gowns made by Renato Balestra; and the refined Italian-style and craftsmanship of Baldi’s intricate home jewels.
Working for Baldi for the first time, fashion photographer Alessio Balleri expertly led the shoot. The colour, uniqueness and intricate detailing of each Balestra gown was paired perfectly to each of Baldi’s home jewels. The opulent gold and silver accents of the furniture pieces and accessories are further illuminated by the shimmer in the dresses. 120
Baldi’s first boutique.
Renowned the world over as epitomising quintessential British style and refinement, Harrods is located on Brompton Road in London’s Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The luxury department store occupies an awe-inspiring five-acre site, and is home to 330 departments offering an incredible range of products and services, from high fashion to gourmet food and cutting-edge electronics to pedigree pets. It is this reputation as the ultimate destination for discerning shoppers that led Baldi to open the brand’s first-ever boutique at Harrods in 2008. Located in Homewares on the Second Floor, Baldi’s luxury space is a tribute to Italian taste and style in England’s capital. Always at the forefront of producing stunning items, Baldi chose Harrods to showcase their most exclusive creation yet in 2010: a two-metre-long rock crystal bathtub. Installed in the store’s exhibition window on Brompton Road for an entire month, the one-of-a-kind piece stopped passersby in their tracks with its natural transparency and reflective luminosity. And in summer 2012, Harrods will reserve another exclusive exhibition space for a second Baldi creation: a crystal rock fountain that will make its world premiere in the Crystal Room on the Second Floor.
Baldi in one of the world’s richest cities. The cosmopolitan mix of inhabitants and thriving commercial districts make the city of Jeddah a popular international destination. Situated on the coast of the Red Sea, it is an important urban centre in Saudi Arabia and one of the richest cities in the world. Thanks to its proximity to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, this ancient Saudi Arabian city also offers much in terms of history and culture.
Known across the globe for its great shopping districts and malls, luxury hotels, and gourmet restaurants and cafes, Jeddah has a wealth of both historical sites and modern attractions. Quickly becoming a popular global destination, Baldi opened its latest boutique in Jeddah in January 2012. Designed by Luca Bojola for the Baldi brand, the flagship store presents the same modern design concept as the brand’s boutique in Doha: the colours and style of the interior are characterized by the contrast between the richness and colour of the Baldi collections on display and the clean, modern lines of the boutique itself. The Baldi boutique in Jeddah is one of the brand’s largest, measuring some 400 square-metres. The showroom’s extensive glass facade gives visitors a sense of ease and openness to the bustling world outside. Baldi creations made of bronze and semi-precious stones, amethyst and rock crystal, tiger eye, malachite, jasper and lapis luzuli, radiate in the naturally lit showroom, dominated by refined, contemporary lines.
Luxury in a premier venue. One of the most vibrant cities in the world, Dubai is best known for its top quality shopping, extreme architecture, eye-catching tourist attractions and landmarks, exciting nightlife and luxury hotels. In a city that boasts several shopping centres, the Baldi flagship boutique is located in the Dubai Mall. One of the largest in the United Arab Emirates, the Dubai Mall is a premier shopping, lifestyle and entertainment destination featuring over 1,200 retail stores. Recently redesigned to bring it up to the brandâ€™s international image, the Baldi boutique showcases pieces from the traditional and contemporary collections, among them furniture and accessories, fabrics, home decor items and lighting.
Baldi Boutiques in Da Vinci Malls. Originally from Singapore, Da Vinci has expanded its activities rapidly across Southeast Asia. The first Da Vinci Mall was opened in 2009 in Beijing, near Tiananmen Square. Today, there are 12 Da Vinci Malls across China, featuring Da Vinci’s exclusive luxury home furnishings. “A shop within a shop,” each Da Vinci Mall carries the world’s most prestigious home collections, among them Armani Casa, Fendi Casa, Versace Home, Bottega Veneta and Marine Blue, as well as Cerruti, Diesel, and Kenzo Maison. Baldi has been an exclusive partner and permanent feature since the first Da Vinci Mall was opened in Beijing. Baldi’s showroom inside the Da Vinci Mall has ensured it successful entry to the entire Southeast Asian market thanks to an exclusive partnership with Da Vinci.
Baldi to soon launch its own exclusive fragrance.
The spirit of Baldi in a bottle.
Enzo Galardi comes from generations of master perfumers from Florence, the city where the modern perfume industry was born. Following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Enzo opened his first fragrance shop in 1985, and in 2005 founded the acclaimed men’s and women’s Bois 1920 collection. With Bois 1920, he reinterprets his grandfather’s original formulas using only the finest raw materials to create modern bespoke fragrances with true lasting power. Today Galardi works alongside his two children, Federico and Federica, at the Atelier Profumo Artistico Firenze. A champion of Florentine style and superior Italian craftsmanship in the world, the Atelier Profumo Artistico Firenze has made its mark in the world stage thanks to generations of know-how and a strict attention to detail. The Galardi family’s dedication to and mastery perfume making has reaped rewards. Galardi has received many accolades and international recognition for his many perfumes, especially Bois 1920, which was elected the winner of the “Come L’Amore Limited Edition,” and finished among the top 5 finalists in the 2012 FiFi Award Indies, considered the ‘Oscars’ of the perfume world. Galardi’s next challenge has been the creation of a fragrance that embodies the spirit of Baldi. Available soon at Baldi boutiques across the globe, Galardi’s special Baldi fragrance is sure to be the scent of Florentine sophistication. Stay tuned! 127
Baldi launches luxury home
community for professionals
in interior design.
BB Spirit - Interior design and creative community. The official launch at Salone di Milano 2012 with a series of exclusive events. Elegance and style, beauty and craftsmanship, art and tradition, creativity and exclusivity: all of this has been part of the Baldi Home Jewels tradition since 1867. It will inspire Baldiâ€™s new online identity through bbspirit.baldi.biz, which is an online community that will be presented at the 2012 edition of the Salone di Milano International Furniture Fair. An innovative space for conversation and dialogue, a place to share the new digital identity of Baldi Home Jewels. It is a community for interior designers, designers, and boutiques offering exclusive content, such as interviews and multimedia previews of Baldi products, as well as the Baldi spirit around the world. The new community will be presented at the Salone di Milano 2012 with a series of events in the evening, among them an aperitivo at the Baldi stand that will be animated by a social media team comprised of carefully selected bloggers from the world of luxury and interior design. There will be many ways to spark conversation, especially when admiring one of the icons of Baldi style and elegance, like an illuminated lamp. At the stand and online, the community will be invited to share content and ideas that will make the fair a more interactive and social experience. Baldi Home Jewels is an enthusiasm for life, a new way of interpreting luxury and lifestyle, of enjoying the beauty of things and embracing the special Baldi spirit. A spirit that will now be shared online. 128
of Florence collaborate for the 21st-century artisan laboratory.
Baldi and the University
Università degli Studi di Firenze reverse engineering and product design Archive
Luca Baldi and Leonardo Boni, in collaboration with professor and scientific director of the Department of Industrial Design at the University of Florence, Elisabetta Cianfanelli, are presenting at Milan’s Salone del Mobile 2012 the project “RED Design Lab” (Reverse Engineering and Product Design). This project is a significant and unprecedented collaboration between a private company and the university sector. A shared research lab between the University and the company for exploration and experimentation in a new format that makes the product the center of attention, and uses know-how – both traditional artigianal and new technologies – to reach its goals. The project has two goals: first, to protect the patrimony of patterns and finishings characteristic of traditional artistic artisan work; second, to creatively develop new objects. A new three-dimensional scanner will reverse engineer the process in order to conserve it: starting from the finished product, the scanner will help reconstruct the artisan’s process, allowing a databasing of the patterns, materials, and finishes in 3D digital form. The second phase of the project will be carried out through collaboration with students who will participate in the planning phases of the design and definition of new products that Baldi will develop and insert into its catalogue.
+39 055 2335614
+39 019 828516
RED DESIGN LAB
INDUSTRIAL DESIGN UNIFI www.design.unifi.it
Stefano Ricci www.stefanoricci.it
JK place firenze www.jkplace.com
+39 055 2645181
Villa Corsini a Mezzomonte
+39 081 8384001
+39 055 208078
WHITE , RED & GREEN
www.whiteredgreen.com +39 055 6810844
Luca Dini www.lucadinidesign.com +39 055 5059379
BBSPIRIT is a commercial publication, distributed for free by Baldi srl, via Cassia 65h, 50023 Tavarnuzze, Impruneta (Firenze) - Italy BBSPIRIT - concept, planning and advertising byÂ WHITE , RED & GREEN - Italy - firstname.lastname@example.org We would like to thank all the advertisers appearing in this issue for their kind concession of the use of their brands, editorial content and photographic material, which is of their property. The photographs by Baldi were shot by Alessio Balleri and Luca Visentini.