PARIS —Balenciaga now has a trio of stores in Italy with the opening of its Roman outpost: A 3,760-square-foot, two-level unit on swanky Via Borgognona. The other two boutiques are in Milan and Venice.
A stone’s throw from the Spanish Steps, the new Rome boutique is located in an 18th-century building whose interior has been transformed by Balenciaga’s creative director, Nicolas Ghesquière, in collaboration with the French contemporary artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster.
Ghesquière and Gonzalez-Foerster went for the feel of a Roman apartment, with three reception rooms under the main floor’s arched ceiling. Floors are demonstrative, a bold marquetry mixing rare woods with marble, along with carpets echoing the motif. A large central shelf in the same pattern – suspended between columns – anchors one room. Upstairs is a series of intimate rooms with subdued lighting. The unit displays women’s wear, men’s wear and accessories across the two floors. Furniture and vintage lamps by Gae Aulenti heighten the residential feel.
Balenciaga has been rapidly expanding its retail network, which now generates more than half of company revenues.