Bulgari Swiss Genius 2023 rewards young talents from the universities of Ticino and Zurich

Cristina D’Agostino

By Cristina D’Agostino04 juillet 2023

Swiss Genius, the Bulgari innovation prize launched in collaboration with online media Luxury Tribune and the Swiss Center for Luxury Research in 2022, unveiled the winners of its second edition in 2023 in Zurich this Tuesday, July 4th. Master's students from the University of Lugano (USI) in Ticino and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) claimed the top three spots in the rankings.

The winners of the Bulgari Swiss Genius 2023 Pietro Lattao and Francesca Manna , centre, and from left to right: Roberto Marino, Bulgari managing director Switzerland, Christa Rigozzi, TV presenter and Bulgari ambassador, Nicole Boghossian, Marketing and communication Director Bulgari Switzerland, Cristina D'Agostino, founder and editor-in-chief of Luxury Tribune, Félicitas Morhart, founder of SCLR and vice-dean of HEC Lausanne, Antoine Pin, Managing Director of the watchmaking division at Bulgari (Bulgari)

Innovation in corporate social responsibility related to the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) served as the starting point for the students' reflections in this second edition of Swiss Genius. The challenge was to inspire the younger generation and create original solutions that integrate the SDGs within the framework of luxury brand development.

Twelve projects proposed by master's students from HEC Lausanne, USI Lugano, ZHAW Zurich, UniNE Neuchâtel, Glion Institute Of Higher Education, and E4S (EPFL, IMD, and Unil) were preselected to compete. Thanks to the consortium of universities and prestigious schools in Switzerland brought together under the auspices of the Swiss Center for Luxury Research (SCLR), founded by Félicitas Morhart (Professor of Marketing and Vice-Dean of HEC Lausanne), and the active participation of Luxury Tribune, the founding media partner of Bulgari Swiss Genius, the quality of the entries from all major linguistic regions of Switzerland was remarkable.

Launched at the beginning of 2023, the competition enabled all talented young students to think about and develop a project capable of meeting six evaluation criteria including the novelty of the idea, the quality of the methodology, the feasibility of implementing the project within a luxury brand, and the relevance of the idea to the given theme.

Three projects quickly demonstrated their great creative potential and stood out from the other proposals. Based on this, the jury, composed of Eleonora Rizzuto, Director of Sustainable Development at Bulgari and LVMH Italia, Tamu McPherson, Global CSR Bulgari Ambassador, Cristina D'Agostino, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Luxury Tribune, and Félicitas Morhart, Founder of SCLR, designated the winner of the 2023 edition: the Ouroboros project, a group of three students from the University of Lugano. Their project focused on the creation of a sustainable packaging concept for the perfume industry.

The Ouroboros project embraced the principles of circularity and regenerative sourcing of ingredients. It also presented an original storytelling concept: the packaging paper, partly composed of flower seeds used in the perfume, could be planted in the soil to grow the flowers encapsulated in the fragrance. The winning project demonstrated its potential for a strong emotional experience. The idea of giving back to nature what it provides, was one of the pillars of the winning project. Pietro Lattao, one of the team members of Ouroboros, explained, "Our project offered both a poetic and pragmatic aspect. The production of the packaging demonstrated that luxury can be grounded in the simplicity of execution, the sustainability of the approach, and the high emotional power of the accompanying storytelling. The idea of generosity, of giving back to nature what it offers, was important to us because that's how we enhance the connection to the product."

Antoine Pin, Director of the Watch Division at Bulgari, who was present at the awards ceremony, confirmed the brand's great interest in discovering new talents from Swiss universities and higher schools capable of innovating in sustainability issues, which are essential for the success of the Bulgari luxury brand. He stated, "The Swiss Genius is very important as it brings generations together around the theme of sustainability. It offers a practical approach to CSR, as students provide insights into real cases. Throughout the year, they have been in contact with our Bulgari teams for mentorship to enrich their thinking before the final submission of their projects. This has allowed us to be challenged by important questions from the students. And on their side, they have been able to observe how a major luxury brand, like Bulgari, addresses these major ethical and sustainable issues. The Bulgari Swiss Genius has a bright future that we hope will continue to expand."

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