A Vanessa Beecroft photograph from the Facchini family holdings.

MILAN — With the opening of its Chenot spa coming up in April, Byblos may be regarded as yet another fashion company set to diversify into the hotel business.<BR><BR>But Chenot is looking to appeal to the visual senses as well, by installing...

MILAN — With the opening of its Chenot spa coming up in April, Byblos may be regarded as yet another fashion company set to diversify into the hotel business.

But Chenot is looking to appeal to the visual senses as well, by installing contemporary works by artists such as Vanessa Beecroft, Anish Kapoor, Peter Halley and Sol LeWitt. The pieces belong to the Facchini family, the owners of Swinger International, the apparel manufacturer that bought the Byblos brand from Prada three years ago.

“Art has always been a part of my life,” said Mathias Facchini, chief executive officer of Swinger International.

The works will be displayed in the common areas of the resort, which is a few miles outside of Veroca in an 18th century villa owned by the family. The villa is named Villa Amistà after the counts who owned it until the Fifties.

As if food for the mind were not enough, Facchini plans to attract guests with a high-profile chef, whose name is still under wraps, and renowned health-care programs by well-being guru Henri Chenot. The 65-room resort, which will cover 216,000 square feet, including a garden and a wine cellar, will be designed by the Italian neo-modern and contemporary architect Alessandro Mendini.

“We will combine and juxtapose contemporary design with the villa’s historical style,” said Facchini, who expects to attract opera lovers, who regularly flock to Verona’s arena.

Facchini said the company plans to set up exhibitions and press events in connection with the Byblos brand, but that this project stems primarily from the family’s passion for art.

“We, as other fashion companies, have diversified in product categories ranging from perfumes to eyewear, and we feel we need to explore new paths, not necessarily connected to our core business, as our lifestyles evolve and are affected by different and increasingly varied inputs,” said Facchini. “There is a desire to represent styles and values not necessarily connected to fashion.”

— Luisa Zargani

This story first appeared in the September 24, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.