Unlike the garden galavanted around by Hari Nef, Dakota Johnson and Petra Collins for Gucci’s Bloom campaign (remember that?), this particular garden, unveiled today via the projection of a giant eye on the ancient Florentine Palazzo della Mercanzia, does not require slug pellets or fresh manure. For this garden is purely figurative, but no less beautiful. It is a space dedicated to Gucci’s relentless exploration of creativity in all its various guises, and like any good garden, accommodates impermanence as well as an eclectic and colourful assortment of flora. In Gucci’s case, this means marrying past with present and future, exhibiting a wide range of pieces from collections dating back to the House’s origins in 1921, as well as recent work from collaborative artists, memorabilia, ephemera and contemporary art.
Organised in themes over two floors these clothes, accessories, video installations, artworks and documents sit alongside vintage pieces, while those who have collaborated with the House on various projects, including artists Jayde Fish, Trevor Andrew and Coco Capitán have been invited to decorate the walls. And because this is an Italian House, chef Massimo Bottura has been invited to open a special restaurant on the ground floor, the Gucci Osteria, which showcases an international menu comprised of recipes collated during Bottura’s travels. “The restaurant is a reminder that Florence has always been a centre of cultural exchange, particularly during the Renaissance”, said Bottura. It is the city’s same rich history that Alessandro Michele has infused with his vision for the House, embodied by the Garden as a homage to the city of Florence, but more specifically via the representation of his predecessors and their respective contributions to the world of Gucci.
Sharing the ground floor is a bazaar-like retail space, offering a selection of Gucci goodies exclusive to the Gucci Garden, including leather goods and jewellery carrying new House motifs, and one of a kind creations, including a silk bomber jacket inscribed with the ‘Gucci Garden’ gothic script. Elsewhere, in a second room distinguished by original stone pillars and a hand painted floor, publications ranging from the contemporary to the antique sit on display among wooden busts and other quirky display devices. Furniture is on offer too; antique items including tables, sideboards and cabinets, painstakingly restored and given a fresh lick of paint in the city’s colours also occupy the ground floor.
Tickets cost €8, with 50% of each ticket sale donated to support restoration projects in the City of Florence.