Apple transforms 17th century palace into new Rome store
Apple has opened a new centrally-located store in Rome, in the preserved grand Palazzo Marignoli, markng one of its most significant (and largest) restoration projects to date
Apple’s new Rome store, created in partnership with Foster + Partners in the Palazzo Marignoli, is the largest of all 118 Apple stores in Europe. Despite its size, the design team has subtly transformed this 17th century palace into a detail-oriented and atmospheric boutique, where original features provide a counterpoint to the future-facing technology on display.
The building, originally constructed in 1873 by architect Salvatore Bianchi and a second renovation by architect Giulio Podesti, was once home to Marquis Filippo Marignoli and housed Caffè Aragno, one of Rome’s most notable gathering places in its day frequented by artists, writers and actors.
Now, technologists and modern-day creatives can be added to the list. On the upper floor, a new space has been created in the original ballroom of the Marquis’s palazzo, which will be home to the Today at Apple programming. Elsewhere, a courtyard filled with native Camphora trees provides space to unwind outside. The design ethos – consistent with many other Foster + Partners Apple stores – aims to create a spaces of learning, inspiration and enjoyment, rather than just places of transaction.
The defining feature of the Palazzo Marignoli store is its respectful restoration. As with many previous restoration projects undertaken by the brand – Champs-Élysées in Paris, Regent Street in London and Carnegie Library in Washington – Apple tapped a team of local restorers to help preserve original features. Notable restoration works in the Rome store include several pieces of art showcased in Caffè Aragno, including multiple graffiti panels created by Italian painter Afro Basaldella in 1950. The teams were also able to revive and integrate Fabio Cipolla’s Dawn and Ettore Ballerini’s Dusk – two large ceiling paintings that date back to the early 1900s.
Visitors will also find locally sourced Carrara marble throughout, including a monumental staircase dating back to 1888, alongside contemporary interventions like great glass windows that flood the main lobby with light. Elsewhere, the minimalist-leaning Apple aesthetic gives way to an intricately detailed, painstakingly restored geometric ceiling – which, with its technological precision, is the perfect accompaniment to the Genius Bar. §