Fendi’s sweeping moves in its hometown of Rome show no sign of slowing. After becoming the generous benefactor of the Trevi Fountain’s ambitious restoration, and resurrecting the Palazzo della Civiltà, a once abandoned fascist gem that is now Fendi’s 7-floor headquarters, the gutsy, fast-moving luxury brand has just cut the ribbon on its newest, largest fashion boutique.
The monolithic store is located in Palazzo Fendi, an 18th century edifice in the heart of Rome, down the street from the Spanish Steps. Previously a ho-hum Fendi shop and an average office space, the Palazzo has just been ambitiously reconceived and refurbished as a six floor cultural, retail, and entertaining centre for the brand and its lucky clients. The Palazzo Fendi includes an enormous two-floor shop designed by architect Gwenael Nicolas, a boutique hotel, a private VIP apartment designed by Dimore Studio and very soon, a top floor Zuma restaurant and rooftop bar.
‘Each maison at LVMH has a store, which is much more than the store,’ says Pietro Beccari, CEO of Fendi who has overseen the brand’s recent titanic moves in Rome. ‘It’s the living incarnation of the brand. Dior has Avenue Montaigne, Vuitton has the Champs-Élysées; we have Rome. There is no other place where you can so precisely understand our personal vision of luxury.’
As for the shop, it is rigorous in its lines but exuberant in its spirit and packaging. The original five arched window façade has been carefully preserved, while floors are intarsiad with precious Calacatta or Marquina marble. A dramatic, sweeping staircase has been cut from a hunk of red Lepanto marble.
While the clothes and accessories are now on full, wide-lens view, along with the brand’s artisans who work in an exposed atelier on the second floor, the unexpected stars of this space are the heavyweight contemporary art and design pieces, an anomaly for most fashion retail enterprises.
Swiss artist Not Vital’s dramatic mirror Moon Ball sculpture dominates the entryway, while the Campana brothers’ The Armchair of Thousand Eyes, Hervé Van Der Straeten’s stacked marble limited edition console, custom lamps by Michael Anastassiades, a bronze sculptural Big Growth Table by artist Mathias Bengtsson, tables by Massimiliano Locatelli, and consoles by Dimore Studio dance around midcentury masterpieces by Gio Ponti and Federico Munari. An improved selection of furniture from the Fendi Casa line fills in the rest along with Fendi’s very cool fur tablets and fur artwork that line the shop’s classic travertine stone walls.