Many people come to Florence drawn by the Renaissance, a city full of glorious palaces, streets lined with leather stores and cappucini so frothy it mimics a fluffy cloud. And this part of Florence does exist. Yet Florence is a city also heaving with great spaces to explore that are edgy and forward thinking. Bjørk is one such store.

Tucked down a side street not far from the Ponte Vecchio, at Bjørk there are no glittering jewels rather contemporary fashion from Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, The Netherlands and USA plus literature on fashion, photography and art.

Opened in April 2013, Bjørk is an alternative space in a city best know for its classic fashion styles. But Filippo Anzaione had an idea to challenge such perceptions while indulging in his creative passion for fashion.

A Florentine by birth, Filippo lived abroad for almost 3 years in London working in art direction. This not only perfected his English, with slight cockney accent, it’s also broadened his mind when it comes to what he likes and promises inside Bjørk.

The store is full of contemporary brands for men and women from international designers plus locally based labels too. From Amsterdam, FOA (First of August) with their clean lines, rich textiles and muted tones offer the ideal winter coats this season or Florence-based Australian shoe designer New Kid whose elegant ankle boots are made in Tuscany from quality custom Italian leather.

There is bronze and brass jewellery by Mikinova, an American also based in Florence, whose sharp edges and long pendant necklaces are the perfect modern accompaniment to the current fashion look plus the recent addition of mixed textile duffle bags by Flemmish brand, lrnce, have added to the accessories on offer.

Beyond fashion there are rows of books and magazines on design, fashion and photography, arguable the best and broadest collection in Florence. Bjørk also sells art prints from emerging graphic artists from around the world. With multiple art and fashion schools in Florence including Polimoda, this is a hub for international students who have become Filippo’s key clientele. 

Interior décor is stylish in a “low budget DIY way”, explains Filippo, “a mix of rich and poor materials.” Iron against marble, recycled wood pallets act as shelving on concrete floors, it’s clean, slick lines work perfectly to showcase the contemporary items on sale.

As for the name, Bjørk means birch tree in Norwegian. A fan of northern Europe, Filippo would love to open a Bjørk store in Copenhagen, a city known for its appreciation of contemporary style and an attitude to embrace new design. For a man of 27 years, and in this current economic climate, his passionate, drive and entrepreneurial spirit is refreshing and to be supported.

With events and launches happening regularly in-store, Bjørk is the ideal find for stylish, modern fashion, books or that little something different but handmade. And as it’s just near Ponte Vecchio is easy to find. Go see for yourself and let Filippo show you what’s on offer in his own little birch tree in Florence.

Words: Nardia Plumridge

Pictures: Sofie Delauw