MILAN — Gucci has a new design home in Florence.

Earlier this month, Gucci creative director Frida Giannini relocated the brand’s design headquarters to a sprawling, 13,500-square-foot space housed over four floors in the 15th-century Palazzo della Mercantanzia on Piazza della Signoria. The move stems from Giannini’s urge to reunite under one roof the various design teams that work for footwear, jewelry, men’s and women’s apparel, scarves, gifts and home.

During Tom Ford’s tenure, the design team was based in London — even Giannini worked there at one point — and the luxury goods brand will continue to keep human resources and public relations divisions in the British capital.

Giannini recently had started bringing staff back to Florence, where she has been based since taking over creative direction of Gucci’s accessories business two years ago. Until now, the women’s ready-to-wear design offices were based in Milan and Giannini was commuting between the two cities. The men’s design team was based in London.

“It is very important for my team to be in the city that is a symbol for Gucci. This way, it is easier to create a synergy between the various lines and have a more global vision of the creative process,” said Giannini.

Gucci brand president and chief executive officer Mark Lee also stressed the importance of centralizing the creative process so that Giannini can have a constant dialogue with other members of her team and local artisans. “Frida’s historical office on [Via] Tornabuoni was bursting at the seams,” Lee said. “There was really literally no place left for anybody to sit.”

Gucci declined to disclose the investment in the new space. The design studio, which was renovated by in-house architects, features dark parquet floors, whitewashed beams and wooden furniture.

This story first appeared in the March 16, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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