Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg
Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

Inside Fendi’s New Headquarters in Rome, an Icon of Fascist Architecture

Fendi has a new home. On Thursday, the storied fashion house moved its headquarters into the Palazzo della Civilta Italiana in Rome, a six-floor geometric edifice of symmetrical arches nicknamed “The Square Colosseum.” The 75-year-old building is a World War II-era icon of Fascist architecture, shunning flair and gaudiness for brutal simplicity, and it has never been occupied. Here's a peek inside, along with a preview of an art exhibition that is marking the occasion.
Fendi Roma
Fendi Roma

Owned by French luxury conglomerate LVMH, Fendi rakes in around $1 billion in annual sales. In recent years, it has worked to modernize under Chief Executive Pietro Beccari, adding e-commerce. “Learning about the client and integrating the client experience is fundamental for us and for the future of the company,” Beccari said earlier this year. “Fendi has good potential.”

Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

The Square Colosseum
The Square Colosseum

There are 216 arches lining the palazzo, a structure that's been rarely utilized since it was built in the 1940s. In 2013, the renowned maker of sleek handbags and lavish furs signed a deal to lease the space for 15 years. It took 18 months of renovation to get the building prepped for Fendi's use.

Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

Fascist Remnants
Fascist Remnants

Statues keep watch over the palazzo, an intimidating remnant of Italy under Mussolini. It was originally meant to be an exhibition hall for a world fair in 1942.

Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

Entrance Hall
Entrance Hall

Architect Marco Costanzi headed the makeover of the interior. He also designed the Fendi headquarters in Milan.

Photographer: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

1925 Till Now
1925 Till Now

Founded in 1925 in Rome, Fendi rose to prominence as one of the world's preeminent designers of fur goods. Now it's tasked with keeping the age-old label fresh.

Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

Public Exhibition
Public Exhibition

Fendi is marking the occasion of its new headquarters with an art exhibition. Open to the public through March 7, “A New Rome. The E.U.R. and the Palazzo della Civilta Italiana” (E.U.R. stands for Esposizione Universale Roma) features a selection of paintings, photographs, and videos from Italian artists, architects, and filmmakers who've worked in the district, including Gabriele Basilico, Fabrizio Ferri, and Franco Fontana.

Photographer: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

Creative Minds
Creative Minds

The creative minds behind Fendi are straight out of fashion lore: Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Fendi.

Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

Building an Empire
Building an Empire

A fashion empire built on fur, Fendi sources its materials from auctions everywhere from Finland to China.

Photographer: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

Opulence Embodied
Opulence Embodied

Fendi's long been unshy about flaunting opulence, from $30,000 fur coats to $1,000 mink keychains.

Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

Not Without Controversy
Not Without Controversy

The use of fur has sparked much controversy over the years. Animal rights groups protested outside a Fendi show in Paris this summer.

Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

Furs on Display
Furs on Display

Fendi boasts a fleet of around 200 stores worldwide, attracting luxury buyers with a promise of exquisitely made ready-to-wear clothes, accessories, and fragrances alongside its fur goods.

Photographer: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

Bookstore and Gallery
Bookstore and Gallery

Fendi's new digs have a bookstore and gallery open to visitors. At 204,500 square feet, the office will accommodate Fendi's 450 or so corporate employees.

Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

Rome Beyond
Rome Beyond

Perched on top of a hill, the palazzo looks out on the Italian capital.

Photographer: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

Pietro Beccari
Pietro Beccari

Beccari, a seasoned executive in LVMH, took over Fendi in 2012 and began work to boost awareness of the Fendi name and attract younger shoppers.

Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

New Name, New Era
New Name, New Era

Under Beccari, Fendi added "Roma" to its label, a move to position the brand as fundamentally Roman. The relocation to one of Rome's iconic landmarks solidifies that feeling.

Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg