DFS Group Partners with Benetton Family Holding Company Edizione to Reinvigorate Fondaco Dei Tedeschi in the Heart of the City of Venice as a Commercial and Cultural Destination
SEPTEMBER 16, 2014, Venice – DFS Group (DFS), a division of the world’s leading luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has announced that it has secured an historic building in Venice, the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, in which it will create a new destination for culture and commerce on the famous Grand Canal.
This landmark project marks the entry of DFS, the world’s leading luxury travel retailer, into Europe. Representing the most desired brands from the world of beauty and fragrance, watches and jewellery, fashion and accessories and Italian food, gifts and wine, the store will go beyond the concept of a conventional department store. It will act as an extra venue for the city, promoting public events and liaising with the city’s cultural institutions.
The Fondaco dei Tedeschi is owned by Edizione, a private, unlisted company which is wholly controlled by Italy’s Benetton family. It was first constructed in 1228 as a place of exchange for German merchants and used for centuries to trade spices, silk and other goods between the Orient and Northern Europe. It was twice destroyed by fire and rebuilt in the 16th century, before being transformed into a customs house under Napoleon. The last restauration, before today, dates back to the beginning of the 20th Century. The history of the Fondaco is one of preservation and change throughout the centuries. Current plans for its restoration, which has been committed by Edizione to OMA, the architecture office of Rem Koolhaas, are built on a concept to re-establish the historic Venetian connection between culture and commerce which will not only attract discerning travellers but also give Venetians the opportunity to indulge in all the things for which their city is renowned.
In explaining the significance of this project to the LVMH Group, Antonio Belloni, Group Managing Director of LVMH, said:
“DFS is one of the most global units in all of LVMH and has exceptional know-how, cultural sensitivity, and an unwavering desire to explore new territories. LVMH has been waiting for the right opportunity and partners for DFS’ European entry and hence we are thrilled to collaborate with Edizione, and the city and people of Venice in offering a perfect combination of history, cultural traditions, craftsmanship, retail and hospitality in this outstanding location.”
Gilberto Benetton, Chairman of the Edizione Group, welcomed DFS’ upcoming entry into Italy and said:
“Our aim is to foster new life into historic Venice by creating a venue for Venetians and visitors alike to revel in Italian architecture, craftsmanship, performing arts, and services, all alongside a beautifully curated product offering. We are confident that LVMH’s DFS will be a trusted steward and the right, high quality partner to occupy and nurture this building rich of history.”
Commenting on this important development, Philippe Schaus, Chairman and CEO of DFS Group added:
“We feel truly honoured and humbled by the opportunity and responsibility of becoming the guardians of this iconic landmark. In opening our first European location in Italy, our vision for Fondaco dei Tedeschi is to re-create, in the modern world of travel, the enjoyable experience this historic building plays in connecting culture and commerce in Venice.“
“We will showcase the best of what Venice and indeed, Italy has to offer the world - a truly unique culture and the city’s long tradition of exceptional craftsmanship. Our cultural program will include entertainment as well as a curated selection of products, brands and services that together will provide a memorable and sought-after experience,” he said.