Come 2015, Rome’s Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana will see a new tenant: Fendi. Currently under renovation, the structure – considered a symbol of and monument to Fascist architecture – will house the Roman atelier for the next 15 years at least. Fendi will reportedly pay 2.8 million euros per annum to inhabit the space, which is clad in travertine marble, an interior staple of the label’s global outposts.
Currently, Fendi’s some 400 employees are spread throughout the city. The move to Civiltà Italiana will allow for the brand’s diaspora to converge under one roof. No matter that it's austere — it’s all part of Fendi’s 90th anniversary celebration. They’re doing it big.
“We are more and more devoted to the city,” Fendi’s CEO Peitro Beccari told WWD, a statement borne out by the house's pledge to restore Rome’s illustrious fountains (see creative director Karl Lagerfeld’s photography project).
The building – also known as Colosseo Quadrato (the Square Coliseum) – was conceived for the 1942 World’s Fair, during Mussolini's Fascist reign, with the intention of promoting Fascism on an international stage.
Designed by architects Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto Bruno La Padula and Mario Romana, Civiltà Italiana features imposing yet arresting symmetrical features. Each of its sides boasts a 6x9 archway-perforated façade. It's rumored that the numbers used in the stacked arches are not arbitrary: 6 up for the letters in "Benito" and 9 across for "Mussolini."
The Palazzo as it stands today. Courtesy of Wikicommons