Kering

MILAN — Kering is further strengthening its ties with Italy and the city of Florence by contributing to the renovation of the lighting system in the courtyard of the medieval Palazzo Vecchio, headquarters of the city council.

The focus of the work is the Michelozzo courtyard, designed in 1453 and extensively transformed and embellished by Giorgio Vasari in the following century. It represents the noble entrance to the Palazzo Vecchio. Renovation of the lighting will begin in the coming months and continue throughout 2021. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.

“Exactly one year ago, when I was awarded the Fiorino d’Oro, I reiterated that Florence and Tuscany hold a particular significance for me and for the group,” said François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of Kering. “Precisely for this reason, we genuinely wanted to help the city during a particularly difficult time, and decided to contribute to the enhancement of one of the many wonders of the Palazzo Vecchio, a symbol of Florence and its cultural heritage and artistic splendor.”

Kering has long been supporting Italy and the Tuscan region. As reported, the French group plans to further expand Balenciaga’s accessories production with the opening of the brand’s first leather goods factory and training center in Italy in 2021 and located in Tuscany, in Cerreto Guidi, around 25 miles from Florence.

In sync with Kering’s sustainability goals, the French group will restore an existing building and this production unit is expected to create up to 300 jobs.

Last year, Kering also confirmed it was planning to set up a new Atelier Maroquinerie Yves Saint Laurent, leasing a building complex in Scandicci, outside Florence.

Kering is also planning to set up a laboratory dedicated to the fashion pipeline in Tuscany that will allow the group to further the implementation of its sustainability goals.

Called TIL, the Test and Innovation Laboratory, and based in Prato, it will provide chemical, physical and biological tests on finished and semifinished products as well as raw materials for the apparel, leather goods, footwear, watches, jewelry and eyewear categories.

In 2018, Gucci, also controlled by Kering, inaugurated ArtLab, a sprawling, state-of-the-art industrial complex, in Tuscany’s Scandicci, which is one of Italy’s main leather goods manufacturing hubs. The group has also relaunched the Richard Ginori brand.

“When we think of a place to invest in craftsmanship and managerial skills,” concluded Pinault, “this region is naturally the first that comes to mind, because it has always offered us such a combination of the highest quality.”

Dario Nardella, mayor of Florence, described Pinault as “a farsighted and courageous entrepreneur” and he explained that the Fiorino d’Oro was bestowed to Kering’s chief “because he has always believed in our region, betting on the Made in Florence brand and offering job opportunities and career development to many young people.”

Kering has responded to an appeal “launched when cities of art in particular were hit hard by the effects of the pandemic,” Nardella continued. “Michelozzo’s courtyard is a pearl of the Renaissance, which leaves those who cross the threshold of Palazzo Vecchio speechless. With this intervention, the courtyard will have a new lighting system that will enhance its beauty and, like any new light, be a sign of hope for the future.”

The work supported by Kering forms part of the Rinasce Firenze Plan, an initiative launched by the Municipality of Florence last spring in the middle of the first phase of the pandemic. Its aim is to encourage a socioeconomic renaissance of the city by providing help for the cultural, economic, educational and tourism sectors.

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