Successfully executing a historic change of head office

Fendi’s major move in Rome

OVERVIEW

  • Objective
    Bring all Fendi employees based in Rome together under one roof in a new head office in a mythic building, the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana. This exceptional site inspires creativity and positive energy among Fendi staff while signaling Fendi’s longstanding commitment to “Made in Italy”.
  • Approach
    Championed by Fendi general management, this unifying project engaged all employees right from the initial announcement, thus ensuring that everyone was on board to support the move.
  • Results
    Fresh impetus for the Roman house. A strong sense of pride among staff in being part of Fendi, driving both motivation and efficiency.

 

Arches © Hélène Binet

BEHIND THE SCENES

All Fendi teams in Rome have been working together since summer 2015  in their prestigious head office building, the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana. Dubbed “the Square Colosseum”, the building was built in 1937 for the 1942 Universal Exhibition, which never took place. Although it has since figured in many movies shot in Rome, the building had never been opened to the public until Fendi arrived. Situated between the mountains and the sea on one of the highest points in Rome and bathed in natural light, the place inspires creativity and positive energy for all the staff who work there.

In 2012 Fendi management was actively seeking a building to accommodate all its staff in Rome, who were at the time split between two locations, one in the center of the city and the other in the suburbs, and reached out to municipal authorities. The rediscovery of the historic Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana met with unanimous enthusiasm, led by Fendi  Chairman and CEO Pietro Beccari, who instantly grasped the huge potential of the site. Discussions with the city of Rome progressed quickly and an agreement was signed in July 2013. It then took a year to design the layout for the building’s new configuration and obtain permits for renovation, followed by another year of construction work.

 

Entrance © Andrea Jemolo

Fendi teams moved to their new offices during the first half of 2015. The move went very smoothly thanks to upstream internal communication by the Human Resources team and seamless coordination between HR and the Fendi operating real estate department, which was in charge of the worksite.

A survey of Fendi employees was also conducted early in the process to address any questions people had as work progressed. Transportation, infrastructure and other issues were all taken into account in preparing the new head office. Regular visits to the site were organized during the construction so that employees could become familiar with their new surroundings.

Office © Andrea Jemolo

The seven floors are divided by department: one for design, another for supply chain and products, etc. An open space configuration was chosen, but the building also offers numerous meeting rooms – 27 in all. Bringing everyone together in the same building has made exchanges more fluid and sharpened efficiency.

© Studio Kippik

“The pride that all Fendi employees feel when they come to work each day in such an incredible place is actually palpable!”

Management has thought of everything to make employees’ lives easier. There is a private shuttle between the metro station and the Palazzo, and special agreements have been negotiated with day care centers near the head office for parents who want to register their children. Other amenities include a messenger service to handle day-to-day tasks such as going to the post office or dry cleaning.

 

Lounge © Andrea Jemolo

To let staff take possession of “their” building, the inaugural evening on October 22 was followed by a private Christmas party for Fendi employees and partners. A temporary transparent structure was set up at the foot of the building, allowing revelers to admire the stunning Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana while they danced.

Another fun and innovative touch was an internal photography contest to immortalize the new Maison Fendi head office. The five winning photos were printed and hung on the walls of offices. For management, the success of this move was largely tied to the engagement of all Fendi staff, who were involved in this exciting project right from the outset.

The first year clearly showed the benefits of the move with a big jump in efficiency. The opening of the company restaurant was a finishing touch to the successful move that has been rich in symbolism for Fendi, whose new head office building is firmly rooted in Italian history.

© Studio Kippik

“We’ve had press coverage around the world since the inauguration. More than simply a head office, this building has become an international showcase for Fendi.”

Key figures

  • 2013 Building renovation launched
  • 500 employees now working together at the same site
  • 19000 square meters of office space renovated