By Rosaria Zucconi — photos by Settimio Benedusi words by Valentina Raggi
Brunello Cucinelli — p. 91
A village in Umbria’s countryside as headquarters for a global business. Architecture, ethics and social issues in the all- round project from the cashmere entrepreneur We meet Brunello Cucinelli, a self- made man who has turned the cashmere knitwear brand that bears his name, developed in the town of Solomeo, into an international luxury label, on the occasion of the inauguration of the redeveloped Umbrian village relaunched as the sprawling headquarters of the company. “This is proof that it is possible to live and do business far away from cities.” Born into a farming family from a neighbouring village, over twenty years ago, Cucinelli brought the company headquarters to the castle of Solomeo, making an ambitious dream come true by bringing life back to a once depopulated suburb. He came up with this project together with landscape architect Massimo De Vico Fallani, who explains: “We were more restorers than builders. The only new buildings are the Theatre and the Monument to Human Dignity.” Once the village had been relaunched, with its church, theatre, a library and the School of Arts and Crafts, eight years ago, Cucinelli extended his dream into the surrounding suburbs. The master plan, ‘ Project for Beauty’, planned to develop a lay oratory, residences, a wine cellar, an oil mill and the new home of the fashion house. The new headquarters are in a horseshoeshaped plant modernised by large windows overlooking the countryside. The cafeteria uses local produce. Mobile phones must be kept on silent, and work- related communication is banned in the evening and on weekends. Before signing his book for us, titled ‘ Brunello Cucinelli. The Solomeo Dream. My Life and the Idea of Humanistic Capitalism’, he asks us to make a bet: to look at our smartphones and see how many emails we have received in the meantime. The leading entrepreneur has received none. Yet another good life lesson.