T FONDACO DEI TEDESCHI’S RETAIL RENAISSANCE
One can get blasé about new retail venues or revamps. They appear all the time. But rarely does one of Venice’s great landmarks become a shopping haven of the type that duty free retailer, DFS Group, opened in October 2016.
The Fondaco dei Tedeschi, dating back to 1222, has a prime location on the Grand Canal near the Rialto Bridge and was once a base for the city’s German (Tedeschi) merchants. An exceptional renovation by Dutch studio OMA, guided by renowned architect and town planner Rem Koolhaas, has breathed new life into the historic building. Furniture designed by Jamie Fobert that celebrates elements, textures and forms of Venice, has given the inside as much appeal as the outside. Red escalators and gold finishes certainly pull no punches – they add a wry touch of decadence to the refined architecture. Now called T Fondaco dei Tedeschi, and the first flagship store of DFS Group in Europe, the expansive shopping offer covering 7,000 square metres has had to live up to its enhanced surroundings. ‘Made in Italy’ and international brands have been carefully curated – it is not bursting at the seams with product… space is a luxury here, something Venetians know all too well with cruise tourists overrunning the town at certain times of the year. It helps that DFS is majority-owned by luxury goods conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. The ground floor is dedicated to Venetian and national excellence so, as well as Gucci and Bottega Veneta boutiques, there are corners dedicated to local accessories and jewellery, alongside delicatessen, wines and gifting ideas from top regional producers. The AMO by Alajmo restaurant occupies the courtyard, with décor designed by Philippe Starck. The menu from Massimiliano Alajmo, the youngest chef ever to gain three Michelin stars, reinterprets classics of Venetian and Italian cuisine with a contemporary touch. Take the red escalator up to the first floor for woman’s fashion, jewellery and accessories featuring Bulgari, Damiani, Fendi, Lanvin, Max Mara, Tiffany & Co, Valentino and more. The second floor encloses an area dedicated to luxury watches from Cartier and Hublot, to Omega and Panerai. Here, too, is men’s fashion from the likes of Brioni, Burberry, Ermenegildo Zegna, Moncler and Salvatore Ferragamo. Woman’s shoes stamp their mark on the third floor with some special designs from René Caovilla, Jimmy Choo, Louboutin, Aquazzura and Giuseppe Zanotti. Facing this space is a full-force beauty offer. The fourth floor hosts the skylit Event Pavilion where art exhibitions and a calendar of cultural initiatives are hosted. From here a terrace with panoramic view on the whole of Venice completes what many might consider an inimitable shopping experience.
T Fondaco dei Tedeschi on Calle del Fontego dei Tedeschi in Venice is open everyday from 10am to 8pm.