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Dane Labelle

After more than 70 years, the Palazzo della Civilità Italiana has been reborn, serving now as the headquarters of the Fendi fashion house. Designed at the end of the 1930s by architects Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto Bruno La Padula and Mario Romano, the enormous structure was erected in Rome’s Eur district for the 1942 World’s Fair. Following its initial construction, the structure remained unused, abandoned, and in a state of disrepair for most of its history, seeing a new life as a setting for several well-known films shot by directors Fellini, Rossellini, Antonioni, and most recently Paolo Sorrentino for La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty). 

Now entering its third life, the historic building has been fully restored to house Fendi’s headquarters, retaining much of its original grandeur including the exquisite, original marble staircases and floors. The first floor, spread over an area of 1,200 square meters, is a permanent free-entry gallery, designed to host exhibitions and installations promoting all aspects of “Made in Italy”. This allows the general public entrance to the building for the first time in its history. Upstairs, sheets of crystal providing an open-space effect have replaced the walls of the upper floors where the Fendi offices are located. The office of CEO Pietro Beccari is housed on the third floor, while Karl Lagerfeld, Silvia Venturini Fendi and Marco De Vincenzo, flanked by an additional sixty designers have taken up residence on the sixth floor.  The remaining floors have been given over to pattern makers, seamstresses and the entire supply chain of a production associated with Italian artisanal quality.