Bjørk Florence’s owner Filippo Anzalone explains how he matches a selection of international brands to an assortment of niche magazines
The city center of Florence is a continuous crossroads of people, where there aren’t often places to stop. Bjørk Florence however, is one of them. The two-story fashion, art, and culture boutique offers the meeting between clothing brands and international designers and a selection of contemporary magazines. But above all, it combines the Florentine tradition with the Northern European experience. It, therefore, becomes a space to browse, discover, and share.
Bjørk is located on Via dello Sprone in San Frediano, considered one of the artistic neighborhoods in Florence. Being located in a road lateral to Ponte Vecchio, Bjørk can be easily reached in Oltrarno, or, as the Florentines call it, diladdarno, at the left bank of the river. The Santo Spirito-San Frediano district is also the cradle of artisan shops, restaurants, and cafés. It is certainly an oasis, away from the hustle and bustle of the center, which hides squares, narrow streets, and suggestive corners as well as art treasures. These include the basilica of Santa Maria del Carmine, the church of Santo Spirito and the church of San Frediano.
Filippo Anzalone, owner and Creative Director of Bjørk Florence
Thanks to the London experience of Filippo Anzalone, owner and Creative Director of the store, Bjørk Florence has a very minimal and refined aesthetic in the furnishings. Wooden cases characterize the tables that host niche magazines, for example. Simplicity proves to be the essential key to hosting contemporary fashion. Preceded by an international selection process, which goes from France to Australia, from the United States to Belgium.
Respect for space is also complementary to background music, organized events, reading, as the owner himself says. «Bjørk was born eight years ago, in 2013, after I returned from a period of living and studying in London. The mission was to unite independent publishing, designers and international brands not yet in the spotlight. I designed the shop entirely. I also made changes over the years. Nevertheless, these have never transformed the essence of the space, based on simplicity and DIY».
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«The key element of the store is the right mix between selection, constant research and a small personal contribution», Filippo Anzalone shares. «Nowadays, anything is a click away. For this reason, I believe that a good direct relationship between owner and customer is the fundament for stores like mine. Trying to make the shopping experience more intimate, direct and human. For an independent boutique, the space itself is an essential element to research and refine as well. Everything must invite the customer to spend as much time as possible inside. Starting from the colors of the collection to the essences infused in the air and to the music played».
Anzalone carries on to explain what the customer feedback was at the beginning of his adventure. «Initially, the difference can be scary. I experienced this on my own skin the first years. I saw, in fact, a total lack of interest from local customers, while the international ones immediately appreciated the project. Sometimes showing surprise to find such brands or magazines in a small hidden street in the Florentine Oltrarno».
Filippo Anzalone’s future plans
«My source of satisfaction is to see customers from all over the world return to visit me years later for a quick hello or to exchange a few words. Florence can very well be divided into an international and artistic side and an unfortunate conservative side, very close-minded and stubborn in its traditions and tastes. This has made the shop based above all on a foreign or more international clientele prone to a more similar aesthetic to mine».
When asked about the future, Anzalone says he would like to further develop the project on two fronts. Firstly, by expanding to a creative agency and representative of emerging brands. Secondly, perhaps in a more distant future, is to introduce Bjørk Florence to the world of food, adopting the same principles of selection, research and contemporaneity. «Bjørk can be described in one word. Mutation».
Via dello Sprone, 25R, 50125 Florence
Bjørk Florence is a two-story fashion, art, and culture boutique offering the meeting between clothing brands and international designers and a selection of contemporary magazines. Filippo Anzalone founded it in 2013.