Alda Fendi may not be as well-known as the prestigious fashion house owned by her family, but she has made a name for herself through her iconic passion for interior design. In 2001, she founded the Fondazione Alda Fendi — Esperimenti, an experimental platform for the arts for her hometown of Rome.
This November, her namesake foundation finds a new home in a sprawling five storey exhibition space and cultural hub housed in a 17th-century palazzo across the ancient Arch of Janus in the heart of Rome’s most historic quarter, Velabro. The palazzo is distinguishable by a lifesize resin sculpture of a rhinoceros guarding the entrance, a tribute to the name of the building itself.
A highlight of the hub is The Rooms of Rome, a collection of 24 unique serviced apartments sandwiched between the art spaces and rooftop restaurant. Fendi has commissioned world-renowned French architect Jean Nouvel (the same genius behind the Louvre Abu Dhabi), who blends the existing architecture with an industrial palette of stainless steel, glass and wood — along with colourful Italian tiling and minimalist furniture.
The building also functions as a new cultural hub for the city, boasting a gallery space consisting of both audio and visual installations. The first exhibit showcases Italian sculptor Michelangelo’s drawings of monuments in Florence and Rome, accompanied by a commentary from Jean Nouvel himself. Come December, the gallery will also host Michelangelo’s famous statue, ‘L’adolescente’, away from its hometown of St Petersburgh.
Below, a look inside the Nouvel-designed space. Rooms start at S$392 a night.