Bjørk Florence 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, however, is one of them; the two-story fashion, art, and culture boutique offering 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, becoming 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 tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the center, which hides squares, narrow streets, and suggestive corners as well as art treasures such as the basilica of Santa Maria del Carmine, the church of Santo Spirito and the church of San Frediano.
Thanks to the London experience of Filippo Anzalone, owner and creative director of the store, Bjørk has a very minimal and refined aesthetic in the furnishings. The tables that host niche magazines, for example, are made from wooden cases. Simplicity proves to be the essential key to hosting contemporary fashion, after 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 seven 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. The shop was designed entirely by me, making changes over the years that have never changed the essence of the space based on simplicity and DIY».
«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, and 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, starting from the colors of the collection, to the essences that are infused in the air and to the music that is played, must invite the customer to spend as much time as possible inside».
Anzalone carries on to explain what the customer feedback was at the beginning of his adventure: «Initially, the difference can be scary, and I experienced this on my own skin the first years, seeing 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. 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, Filippo 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