The Myth on the Palace Renovation

architects Rem Koolhaas, Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli
written by Luka Skansi


The renovation of the Fontego dei Tedeschi (Fondaco dei Tedeschi) Palace in Venice has just been completed. The authors of the architectural project are Rem Koolhaas, Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, Francesco Moncada and Silvia Sandor, i.e. the famous Rotterdam-based Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). The five-storey monumental palace, located just a few steps from the Rialto Bridge, is now a luxury shopping mall. The whole operation is the result of a lavish rather than brave investment of the Benetton Group. This financial giant from Treviso handed the completed building over to dfs (Duty Free Shopping), a company from Hong Kong in the portfolio of the French multinational company lvmh, owner of several Italian fashion brands. The concessionary from Asia took over the commercial management of the building with the goal of creating a variant of the London Harrods or the Paris Galeries Lafayette in the Venetian Lagoon. OMA – Benetton – Fontego: the premises suggest a potentially very interesting project, which, in a delicate and complex context such as Venice, transforms a historical building into an architectural attraction dedicated to consumerism. The task was to attract the targeted masses of visitors and, simultaneously, redefine modalities and the atmosphere of modern shopping.