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Luxury & Brands
December 30, 2015

Take A Tour Of Fendi’s New Headquarters

Text by Saumya Sinha

What happens when history meets a fashion legend in a distinctly beautiful Roman setting?

As a celebration of  Fendi’s 90th anniversary that also marks its creative director Karl Lagerfeld’s 50th year with the Roman fashion house, the brand has moved to new headquarters in a luxurious home that stands tall under a strong grasp of history. One of the most significant architectural symbols of 20th-century Rome, the HQ is an iconic establishment which was left abandoned for decades.

It’s not the first time that fashion and architecture have come together with such dynamic synergy at Fendi, especially in the hands of Lagerfeld. In a long-standing love affair between the brand and its hometown Rome — after renovating the famous Baroque-inspired Trevi Fountains that sees a burst of tourists every year — Fendi has again outdone itself by reviving the forgotten.

Designed in 1937 by architects Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto Bruno La Padula and Mario Romano, the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana is considered one of the landmarks of Italian rationalist architecture. Nicknamed the Square Colosseum, the building has found itself being referenced as a source of inspiration for the metaphysics movement and has also been quoted in films by famous Italian directors such as Roberto Rossellini and Michelangelo Antonioni.

Located in the EUR area of the eternal city, the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, also called the Palazzo della Civiltà del Lavoro, will captivate you at first glance. Flanked by clean facades with a stunning arrangement of 28 statues on all four sides, this stunning building exudes perfect harmony. On top of each facade appears the famous phrase saluting the art and craftsmanship of Italy: Un popolo di poeti di artisti di eroi / di santi di pensatori di scienziati / di navigator di transmigratori (A population of poets, of artists, of heroes / of saints, of thinkers, of scientists / of navigators and transmigrators).

A pristine white palette dominates the decor; tall windows overlook the sprawling grounds and minimal furniture is arranged artistically, reflecting the brand’s passion for perfection. For Lagerfeld, the Square Colosseum reflects the beauty and aesthetics of Giorgio de Chirico’s paintings from around 1940-50. ‘For me, the Italian style of that period and especially the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana is a de Chirico painting. And I love the light that you can find there reflecting the white marbles. Amazing!’ expressed Lagerfeld whose Spring/Summer ’15 collection for Fendi was influenced and inspired by the Square Colosseum.

This exemplary model of monumentality — conceived in 1936 as a space for exhibitions — has never been used as a space to house offices, apart from a short period after World War II, when it became the headquarters of the Federazione Nazionale dei Cavalieri del Lavoro (the National Federation of the Knights of Labour). Now, with a creative collaboration with Fendi, and a rental agreement that is set to last for the next 15 years, the Square Colosseum continues to write its own history.

What makes the HQ all the more special is that it’ll now house all its employees — more than 400 people from different departments — under one roof, for the first time. Furthermore, to make the 15,000-square-metre structure as open to the public as possible, the first-floor area has been designed as a gallery for exhibitions. A walk through the Square Colosseum will now give you the exact experience that was envisioned for it in 1937, which is an atrium where space and light define the environment.

The extensive new headquarters has successfully incorporated everything you can imagine — exclusive fur ateliers (pictures of which have never been available for viewing), a fresh ambience, walls awash in soothing colours, state-of-the-art interiors and thought-provoking photographs that decorate them. With all this and more, the new office space is both a visitor’s paradise and a worker’s dream come true.

Read about Fendi’s Haute Fourrure Collection, to mark their 90th anniversary, here.

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