Montebello Vicentino, Italy — Bottega Veneta has a new home.
The luxury brand is investing in its human resources by providing its 300 employees with a new headquarters — the stately 18th-century Villa Schroeder-Da Porto, ensconced in a park about 16 miles from Vicenza, in the Veneto region of northern Italy.
“This is a sector where you invest in people, and we wanted to create a cocoon to make our employees feel at home and pampered,” said Marco Bizzarri, president and chief executive officer of the brand, sitting in his new luminous office, the muted yellow of his desk chair singularly standing out against the white, stuccoed walls and sleek furniture. “This is for the intangible value of the people that create the product, artisans that have been working with us for 30 years, who are capable of decoding our designer’s thoughts — it’s something that you can’t replicate, the reinterpretation of the creative thought, not merely craftsmanship in itself but in association with design, a connection between past and future. This is why we chose a villa and chose to pursue a sustainable environment.”
Through the attention paid to people and the environment, the company is to obtain the LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Certification at the Platinum level developed by the Green Building Council, a U.S. nonprofit organization. Bottega Veneta is the first Italian company to reach that level in the fashion and luxury sector. “The LEED certification is in line with the goals of the Kering group, including the reduction of the impact on the environment and the reduction of polluting elements,” said Bizzarri, who declined to reveal the investment in the new headquarters. “It’s right to give back to the territory.”
The building covers a land area of 594,000 square feet and includes the atelier, management and administrative offices, storage of precious hides, the archives comprising 5,000 bags from the Sixties onward, a museum, a restaurant and its own school, which has now been internalized. The blueprint of the project and the interior design was masterminded by creative director Tomas Maier. Bottega Veneta conservatively restored the 54,000-square-foot villa, which is protected by the Italian government’s department in charge of historic buildings and monuments, maintaining its local-stone facade, portals, columns, statues and fountains. A new building, which also houses the school, was annexed to the arched barchessa, used in the past to store animals and tools, and wood and cotto bricks cover their facades. Low environmental impact is achieved through 12,960 square feet of photovoltaic cells, a water recycling system and limited external lighting, for example. More than 75 percent of construction materials were reused, and the wood was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Before moving from its original headquarters in an industrial area in Vicenza, Bizzarri said, the company consulted focus groups to understand how the change would affect employees. In addition to the existing medical insurance provided by the firm, Bottega Veneta boosted each employee’s monthly salary by 1,000 euros, or $1,350 at current exchange, to cover the average impact of the move. Moreover, the company introduced an annual welfare system for a total of 500 euros, or $675.20, a person, to be spent on services such as the restaurant and takeaway, laundry, kindergarten and fitness.
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