ROME — Rome wasn’t built in a day. And neither was the new Rinascente store located on the Italian capital’s Via del Tritone. It actually took 11 years to complete the project, which, along with the several bureaucratic issues the retail company had to solve, also required almost 1,852 days of construction.
“I think today we feel like athletes who won five Super Bowls or five NBA finals in a row,” said Rinascente chief executive officer Pierluigi Cocchini. “Rinascente Via del Tritone is in the city, for the city and with the city,” he said, highlighting that the new 1.6 million-square-foot department store, which carries more than 800 brands, aims to become a meeting point creating a rich exchange with Rome’s citizens and the tourists visiting it.
The debut of the department store, which opens its doors to the public on Thursday, also marks a step in the company’s rebranding strategy, which changed its name from La Rinascente to Rinascente. The logo was restyled and is now written in capital letters in the sleek Futura font. For the new Roman store, the company created a customized additional logo, consisting of a stylized image inspired by Ancient Rome’s iconic monuments.
According to Cocchini, Rinascente, which has been controlled by Thailand-based group Central Retail Corp. since 2011, invested more than 200 million euros in the store, which will employ 650 people. In particular, 130 million euros were spent to buy the building, 46 million euros were used to renovate it and 27 million euros served to furnish it. In addition, the brands present in the store with corners and shops-in-shop invested a further 50 million euros.
“The investment returns will depend on how much you will shop here,” said Rinascente president Vittorio Radice, who said he expects eight million people to visit the department store every year.
In 2016, Rinascente, which generated a turnover of 615 million euros, welcomed 21 million visitors in its 10 stores.
Featuring an impressive facade designed by Vincent Van Duysen featuring 96 windows and seven shopping windows, the store occupies nine floors.
Both conceived by Van Duysen, the first and second levels host a wide selection of jewelry, eyewear and beauty products — including the Christian Louboutin makeup line in exclusive for the European market — as well as a range of women’s accessories corners operated by international luxury labels such as Prada, Céline, Marni, Fendi and Balenciaga, among others.
Inspired by a traditional Roman square, the third floor, which was designed by Universal Design Studio, features men’s ready-to-wear collections, as well as a denim bar and a shoe area.
Architect Paolo Lucchetta organized the fourth floor in Rooms, hosting the tailored collections of men’s labels, as well as Lofts, featuring smart casual men’s offering. Sneakers and underwear are also displayed in dedicated areas.
The fifth and sixth levels are focused on women’s fashion. Developed by architect India Mahdavi, who combined minimal design with reach textures and decors, the fifth floor is dedicated to high-end rtw, as well as luxury footwear, while the sixth floor, designed by firm CLS Architetti, carries contemporary lines, denim brands, sneakers and premium accessories.
The department store’s offering is completed by a Design Supermarket in the basement, which also reveals an archeological site with the remains of the Ancient Roman Virgin Aqueduct, and a Food Hall gourmet supermarket on the rooftop. Here, several restaurants face two terraces offering an extraordinary view over Rome’s roofs and domes.
In addition, inside the store, an original multilevel building dating back to the early 20th century stands out with its yellow facade. On the first floor, it hosts a Louis Vuitton store, the third in the Italian capital. The boutique, which is decorated with a reproduction of a vintage monoplane, carries a dark blue limited-edition version of the brand’s “Star Trail” heeled bootie created exclusively for the Roman Rinascente.
In order to provide efficient service to international customers, Rinascente Via del Tritone also developed an in-store tax-free service with kiosks where travelers can scan their passports and receipts and obtain an immediate tax refund on their credit cards.
“We also created a more than 3,000-square-foot area dedicated to customer service,” said store manager Adriano Baffi. “We offer personal shopping assistance, home delivery services and also guided tours inside the store.”
To celebrate the opening, Rinascente teamed with artist Francesca Romana di Nunzio, who created hyper-realistic sculptures of the company’s employees, which were installed in the shopping windows.