In Rome, the Palazzo Fendi is a beautiful space dedicated to the savoir-faire of a house, which, since the ‘90s, has been the very quintessence of Italian luxury and elegance.
Beautiful fashion houses always boast a beautiful stories. Palazzo Fendi’s history dates back to the aristocratic times in Rome. This stunning Palladian-style mansion, constructed in the 18th century at the heart of Rome’s historic centre was reconstructed in 1902, on the request of Prince Boncompagni who wanted to turn it into the residence of his illustrious family — in fact, one of his 16th century ancestors was Pope Gregory XIII. An architect named Gaetano Koch transformed it into a neo-classical architectural marvel. The building now stands at the entrance of Via dei Condotti and was revisited in 2014. “The Palazzo Fendi is not only our largest boutique in the world. It is so much more than a shop,” says Pietro Beccari, the CEO of Fendi. “It is a symbol of what we are. No other place will give you such a clear vision of our philosophy of personalised luxury.”
Everything here is about quality without being ostentatious. There are countless, discreet reminders of the world of Fendi.
There are two ways to enter the Palazzo. The most obvious way would be to go through the glass door of the boutique on Largo Carlo Goldon. There is another more discreet entrance, a few metres away on Via della Fontanella di Borghese, which leads directly to the suites. But let us start with the boutique: 1000 sq. metres of beauty and refinement. White walls, sweeping marble staircase to access the first floor (you will find the very same marble in the bathrooms and on the wall near the library on the third floor). Architect Gwenaël Nicolas embellished the building with elements from Roman architecture between the two World Wars. The famous arches of Fendi’s new headquarters, the historic Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, located in the EUR business district, has also inspired the decor. And it is a nod to this monument dating back to the ‘30s. This is a beautiful space to showcase Fendi’s collection, and the work of its artisans. Here, craftsmanship is raised to the level of an art, almost displayed like in a museum—triangles of fur displayed with clips, a Baguette Wall where iconic bags are displayed in front of a studded wall, etc. On the upper level there is a glass cabin within which you will find a fur atelier. These artisans have been responsible for Fendi’s reputation with fur for decades on end. You will see that each of the artisan is painstakingly working on pieces of fur, at different stages of completion.
“Everything here is about quality without being ostentatious. There are countless, discreet reminders of the world of Fendi.”
Those who have the honour of staying in one of the seven suites at the Palazzo can use a private reception and can use a separate elevator to the third floor. Once upstairs, they are welcomed by a concierge who takes care of guests. Besides the spacious suites (the largest one is almost 50 sq. metres), the floor also has two salons. Like all over the Palazzo, the branded furniture flanks priceless works of art. A fur sofa by the Campana brothers, armchairs by Fritz Hansen and near the art-laden library, there is a display of Baguette bags reinterpreted by contemporary artists. Then there are also black and white photos by Karl Lagerfeld that dot the suites. The decor is all about quality without being ostentatious. There are discreet references to the world of Fendi. Fur elements on the bed, large leather sofa, photos of Rome by Karl Lagerfeld, as well as works of art presented by the Mazzoleni Gallery with artists like Lucio Fontana, Agostino Bonalumi, Getulio Alviani, Nunzio and Josef Albers. There is a pair of dumbbells placed on the floor as a discreet reminder to stay healthy and there is an iPad casually placed in the lounge which gives out the city’s best shopping and restaurant recommendations. But the best part of this cosy refuge is the view. High windows offer exceptional views of Via dei Condotti, Piazza di Spagna, Via del Corso and the Piazza del Popolo on the left.
For breakfast, you need to go up one level to the restaurant Zuma, just to enjoy its terrace, its Japanese cuisine and the stylish service. After London, Hong Kong, Miami, New York, Istanbul, Dubai and Las Vegas, German chef Rainer Becker has just opened his tenth branch. Done up like a traditional Japanese Izakaya, and designed by architect Noriyoshi Muramatsu who kept the design spirit of the Palazzo in mind, the restaurant features the Japanese design elements of earth, fire, water and air with lots of sculpted wood, ceramics, bamboo and roofing from old Tokyo. On the highest level, the lounge bar has become the trendiest address in Rome, perfect for a sundowner. After all this splendour, it’s almost impossible to come down to terra firma…
A glass and metal circular stairway leads you to the second floor, to a specially reserved zone, which you can access by invite only (top customers, celebrities, friends of the house, etc). The piano nobile or the aristocratic floor has been transformed into a private space called The Fendi Apartment. Designed by Emiliano Salci and Britt Moran from Dimore Studio, it reflects an aristocratic home from the 18th century, reinterpreted in a 21st century design decor. There are pieces of designer furniture and priceless art all over the space—a daybed by Giò Ponti and a console designed by Oeuffice, lit up by a superb vertical light unit by Dimore Studio. Several elements were designed specially for Fendi by Dimore Studio and presented at the Miami Design show. Take, for instance, the large metal bookstand which separates the salon and the dining room, where you will find a table with metallic branches and glass. This table, which can seat up to sixteen privileged guests, was also exhibited in Miami along with its black enamelled wood chairs. In the salon, the “Miranda” armchair by Bruno Mathsson is placed alongside contemporary armchairs by Axel Vervoordt, while the pastel green trial rooms, in one corner of the floor, has a Fendi divan in mink. How’s this for luxury in its purest form?