U of A Students Get Inside Look at Fendi's Rome Headquarters

Francesca Riccardo discusses the architectural significance of the Palazzo della Civitá Italiana, which houses Fendi's headquarters, with University of Arkansas interior design students
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Francesca Riccardo discusses the architectural significance of the Palazzo della Civitá Italiana, which houses Fendi's headquarters, with University of Arkansas interior design students

A group of University of Arkansas interior design students recently visited the Fendi headquarters in Rome. The visit was part of the course Investigations in Italian Design offered at the University of Arkansas Rome Center.

"The Fendi visit was an important part of our course, and the students loved it," said Francesca Riccardo, Rome Center faculty member and the course's instructor. "It's a life-changing opportunity for many students, and one that can only be experienced in Rome."

The Fendi headquarters is housed in the Palazzo della Civitá Italiana. The building was commissioned by Benito Mussolini and is considered an iconic example of Italian rationalist architecture. Fendi is the first inhabitant of the structure, since its construction in 1943.

Mauro Lazzarotto, architect and building manager for the Italian luxury fashion label, guided students throughout their tour. He discussed the building's history, its significant architectural characteristics and explained how Fendi made design choices for the building.

The Palazzo della Civitá Italiana is considered a monument. Therefore, Fendi architects were not allowed to make structural changes to the building when it was made the company headquarters in 2015. Lazzarotto spoke to the students about the challenges of making the building a functional workplace without altering the existing structure.

"Interacting with one of Fendi's leading architects is such a great learning opportunity for our students," Riccardo said. "It helps students learn how to design with a gentle touch, respect existing materials and transform obstacles into opportunities. They learn how much the essence of a place and its tradition may be used to give a project a unique atmosphere, while sill looking modern and appealing."

Before visiting the company headquarters, Riccardo took her students to the Fendi boutique in the center of Rome. This gave students the opportunity to make comparisons between office and retail design. It also allowed them to expand on design, by making connections with the worlds of arts and fashion.

Students interested in learning more about the course or studying at the University of Arkansas Rome Center should contact the Office of Study Abroad and International Exchange.

Contacts

Amanda Cantu, director of communications
Graduate School and International Education
479-575-5809, amandcan@uark.edu

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