DFS, the world’s leading luxury travel retailer, announced its entry into Europe in September, with plans to open its first European store in the heart of Venice, in the Fondaco dei Tedeschi. The new downtown DFS store will serve to create a new destination for culture and commerce, and carry on the vibrant heritage of the City of the Doges as an epicenter for trade.
The Fondaco dei Tedeschi has long served as a center for trade and commerce. Built in 1228 as a place for German merchants, it had for centuries, been used to trade spices, silk and other goods between the Orient and Northern Europe. The building later became a customs clearinghouse during the Napoleonic era. With a history of preservation and change, DFS ushers in a new chapter of the Fondaco dei Tdeschi restoring the second largest building in Venice to its iconic status.
This ambitious project will create the first ever department store in Venice – it will however, go beyond the concept of a conventional department store by acting as an extra venue for the city, with the aim to re-establish the historic Venetian connection between culture and commerce. Edizione, who owns the building, has commissioned Rem Koolhaas’ studio OMA to handle the external structural recovery work. With this transformation, the integrity of the building will be preserved.
In Venice, DFS will deploy its unique downtown store concept under the T Galleria by DFS brand. The store will offer a curated selection of products and brands, including original and authentic local products. The Fondaco dei Tedeschi will also serve as a venue for various cultural activities, as well as implement ongoing collaborative programs with local institutions and artists to showcase Venice’s rich heritage and creative talents. Scheduled to open at the end of 2016, this is a key milestone for DFS, as it marks the brand’s debut the Old Continent.