All About Italy (USA) - - Photo Reportage - John Da­porto

Palazzo della Civiltà Ital­iana in Rome, also known as “Colosseo Quadrato (Square Colosseum)”, is an im­pos­ing palace, en­tirely clad in traver­tine mar­ble, con­ceived to cel­e­brate the Colosseum and con­sid­ered an icon of neo­clas­si­cal and fas­cist ar­chi­tec­ture. It was de­signed by the ar­chi­tects G. Guer­rini, E.B. La­padula and M. Ro­mano to have a se­ries of su­per­im­posed log­gias, sim­i­lar to the Colosseum ones, on the four façades and it was con­structed, be­tween 1938 and 1943, as part of the pro­gram of the Es­po­sizione Univer­sale Roma, which was can­celed while the build­ing was be­ing fin­ished. It stood empty, aban­doned for over a decade un­til it hosted the Roma 1953 Agri­cul­tural Ex­hi­bi­tion.

Its new life be­gan in 2015, when lux­ury fash­ion la­bel Fendi signed a 15 years lease con­tract to turn it in its head­quar­ters. Af­ter 18 months of ren­o­va­tion, dur­ing which Ar­chi­tect Marco Costanzi headed the makeover of the in­te­rior, the Palazzo was ready for Fendi’s use. One of the spa­ces where it is pos­si­ble to fully breath the new at­mos­phere of the Square Colosseum is FENDI Caffè. Here, the vi­brant feel is per­ceived right from the en­trance, where a hall­way fea­tur­ing 1960s fur­ni­ture and pho­tos of the Palace by Karl Lager­feld serves as ac­cess to the bar area, an­nounced by the ‘FENDI Caffè’ neon sign on the wall. From here, the gaze sweeps to­wards the li­brary, with its large raw tables by Con­tro­pro­getto.

The retro feel of the brasserie is given by blue vel­vet so­fas, in­dus­trial lamps and round tables with tex­tured tops by Hein Eek. The bar­tender’s po­si­tion has sev­eral niches con­tain­ing hun­dreds of col­ored Flower Bot­tles cre­ated by renowned Ja­panese flower artist Azuma Makoto, and a counter made of re­claimed wood, resin and ce­ment.

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