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Creativity and BIM, an architectural gem for Bulgari’s new office

Bologna, Italy // Autodesk AEC Collection

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The company

Open Project develops architectural and engineering projects that follow the whole process, from design to works management, with an integrated and multidisciplinary approach.Open Project has an office in Bologna and one in Abu Dhabi in the UAE, where about 50 professional engineers, architects and designers work.

BIM, at the heart of Open Project’s activities, enables the company to manage projects innovatively and efficiently, encouraging collaboration between all the staff members who operate simultaneously in an architectural, structural and industrial setting and in energy management. It is no coincidence that this approach enabled Open Project to see planning and works management through to the end for the new Bulgari Gioielli Spa workshop, which involved the creation of a production and administrative office, in line with the efficiency and safety requirements of an international brand that is the figurehead for the ‘Made in Italy’ luxury sector.

"Thanks to Autodesk’s solutions, it was possible to combine efficiency and safety requirements in a building in line with the Bulgari brand’s style and value."

—Giacomo Bergonzoni, BIM Manager, Open Project

Bulgari Gioielli Spa

Image kindly provided by Open Project

The challenge

The intention for the new Bulgari Gioielli Spa workshop was to combine the artisan nature of the company with its industrial vocation. “We developed the idea of a factory housed in a farm of local historical significance: this was where the first goldsmith in Valenza Po worked”, explains Luca Drago, an Open Project Partner. “The farmhouse’s original footprint was retained with an extension in steel and glass, which houses the management offices. From here, you can access a square-plan building with an internal courtyard where all the production takes place”. 

All the stringent safety requirements were fulfilled, thanks to a combination of aesthetics and efficiency. “The building is complemented by an external structure, an aluminium perimeter 6 metres from the building that gives the whole complex a unique and elegant look”, adds Drago. The outer layer, or ‘skin’, was in fact designed with all the characteristics of a protective barrier but, at the same time, does not weigh down the aesthetics, nor is it perceived by those working inside the complex as cutting them off from the surrounding area.

The solution

BIM and Autodesk solutions have been fundamental in the coordination and collaboration phases of such an organised project. “The time constraints were very strict and we needed to work in multiple teams - architectural, structural, and industrial - on the same model”, BIM Open Project Manager Giacomo Bergonzoni stresses.

“At the heart of it, Autodesk solutions and BIM's compatibility have allowed us to be much more efficient and to complete the project according to the client’s needs”.


BIM provides a multidisciplinary approach, speeding up planning and reducing the risk of error.

Autodesk’s AEC Collection, which includes a set of BIM tools for construction planning, and civil and construction infrastructure, was used to develop a unique multidisciplinary model based on the industrial side that, in a project of this type, is very complex. “The workshop has about 200 goldsmith stations, each connected to the required tools”, adds Bergonzoni. “Only an integrated approach based on Autodesk Revit allowed us to develop this feature, coordinating the structural and architectural elements, interior design and layout of the new building”.

Autodesk Revit was decisive in the incorporation phase. “We managed to get the actual quantities of the elements and materials to be used directly from the model”, Bergonzoni explains. “This allowed us to provide the client with a detailed and realistic estimate to use upon invitation to tender and the choice of company that would carry out the work”.

BIM simplified the LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification process which led to its LEED Gold rating. The Manifattura Bulgari has therefore become Italy’s first factory to achieve such a high level of sustainability. This was made possible by integrating LEED with BIM’s process thanks to solutions like Autodesk Dynamo and Insight 360, which gather data on environmental quality, energy performance and consumption, right from the first planning stages.

“To build the outer ‘skin’, we used Autodesk Advance Steel, a software program designed for modelling steel, which was a fundamental part of this phase”, explains Giuliana Poli, Structural Designer at Studio Tecnico Majoviecki, the company that worked with Open Project on this component. “The project was then imported into Revit and integrated into BIM’s model for overall development”.


Bulgari Gioielli Spa

Image kindly provided by Open Project

With Autodesk Naviswork, Open Project then finished off a 4D simulation of the building and the assembly of the prefabricated reinforced concrete elements, built into the site’s layout, to analyse the construction phases and check the possible interference between the operating teams. But, in general, throughout the implementation phase, BIM helped out in the works management, facilitating coordination between the various disciplines, evaluating possible variables during the operation and also the economic impact on the overall costs.

Having a virtual version of the building at hand finally allowed a fast to-scale reproduction of the workshop. “Bulgari was able to present the new factory to its employees”, Drago adds. “We took advantage of Autodesk’s online rendering services to create a virtual reality of the internal spaces, allowing us to see what the future office would be like”.

The results

After this experiment with the new Bulgari Gioielli Spa office, BIM and Autodesk solutions are today even more at the centre of Open Project’s business. “The AEC Collection and BIM’s approach to the projects that we replicate are fundamental to an office like ours, which is always looking ahead to the future”, Drago continues.

“Everyone working on the same multidisciplinary model enables us to develop projects with information and data that are always up-to-date and synchronised. This is a bonus for anyone who, like us, works on operations that require the collaboration of staff that operate in different spheres”. The simultaneous development of architectural, structural, industrial and interior design components also made it possible to check the final impact and results that the building and its components would have, in real time. BIM’s approach helped Open Project to reduce the number of errors in the planning phase, cut implementation times and, as a result, save on medium/long-term operating costs. These results are unmatched by a traditional approach.

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