” A nation of poets of artists of heroes, of saints of thinkers of scientists, of surfers of transmigrators “
This is what the inscription on the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, better known as Squared Colosseum, says. The building stands in the middle of the Eur, a Roman neighborhood. It is made of arcade and travertine, usually lighted in white by the sun. From more than fifty years it has been looking after the life of the neighborhood, and after the people that are so used to read these words that they can feel them in their blood.
Fendi could not have chosen a better place to put in its offices. The Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana becomes so the new headquarter of the mason Fendi, who decides to celebrate its Roman ancestries in spite of the purchase by French. Fendi had already shown its love for Rome, its origins and Italian culture by funding the renovation of Fontana di Trevi and Quattro Fontane, but now, with this choice, they made a step forward.
Designed in 1937 by architects Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto Bruno La Padula and Mario Romano, the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana was opened on 30th november 1942, as the main pavilion of the upcoming Universal Exposition 1942. Owing to the beginning of the war, it never took place. However the building became an architectonical symbol for its coherency between form and function, Classicism and Rationalism. It is a tribute to progress. Its arcades are similar to Colosseo’s ones, and so it is the celebration for the re-birth of the Roman Empire (we are in Fascism Period). The palace was then designated “Temple of work” in 1953, and it became the headquarter of the association of Cavalieri del Lavoro (Italian decoration).
This architectonical institution has been renovated by Fendi, that has made it its headquarter for the next 15 years. They obtained the building in rent by the City of Rome until 2028. Pietro Beccari, president and CEO of Fendi, has explained the strategic choice of this office’s position to the Corriere della sera:
“Here there are not walls, so everyone can see what we do. There’s the creativity, Karl Lagerfeld with Silvia Venturini Fendi, there’s Marco De Vincenzo and other sixty designers. Karl still uses sketches and sketches, so we have the pattern makers, seamstresses and the entire chain of creation. Then there is the laboratory of fur, entirely produced here, and a space dedicated to visual merchandising”
Ground floor has been opened to public as exhibition space. It has been inaugurated with the exhibition A New Rome, focused on the history and on the architecture of EUR area. The exhibition will close on 7th March.
There are sketches, pictures and movies. Everything gives a particular interpretation of the Eur district. The Artworks placement is in line with the light and the landscape outside the window, creating links between imagine and reality.
In the sketches of artists like Gino Severini, Mario Sironi, Enrico Prampolini and Francesco Messina there’s a vanguard vision about the city, a strong communicative impact, but a space for dream and imagination. Here we can find sketches with ideas on district’s urban planning. How it could have been, how it was, how it currently is. The entire story of the district.
BETWEEN ART AND DESING
Design is very important as well. Objects and forniture are all over the space. Guglielmo Ulrich’s artworks and Giò Ponti’s furnitures are everywhere.
Also cinema has a role in this exhibition. The EUR district is showed also through the screening of movies scenes by Rossellini, Fellini, Bertolucci, De Sica, with the EUR district as scenery.
Focus on the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana: the eye of the exhibition moves to the pictures of artists like Karl Lagerfeld, Gabriele Basilico, Fabrizio Ferri, Federico Fontana, Andrea Jemolo and Mimmo Jodice, who captured surprising details of EUR. Classic, squared, massive, with white marble and green trees: this is EUR and in this exhibition it is perfectly represented.
Fendi wants to show that Eur is the new Roman Foro (center of the city life in the ancient Rome period) and that the Squared Colosseum is its center.
article by Laura Beccaria
pictures by Fendi