Rinascente CEO reveals Italian department store group’s new projects
On the occassion of Milan Design Week, FashionNetwork.com met with Pierluigi Cocchini, the CEO of Rinascente, the Italian department store group. He shared the group's initiatives for the Milanese event, and the projects it has in the pipeline for Rinascente’s various branches.
“Rinascente is a company that has always had strong links with the design world. Each of the floors [in our Milan Duomo flagship] is curated by a different designer, and all the fixtures come from the [design sector],” said Cocchini. “For us, [Milan] Design Week is one of the most important weeks of the year, even more so than Christmas, a strategic commercial period during which we welcome a huge number of visitors, both from Italy and abroad. The entire [Milan] store turns into a venue celebrating the world of design, especially the basement, home to our Design Supermarket, where we currently showcase some 220 between established and emerging brands. In recent years, the number of featured brands has increased, and the same goes for the initiatives they have staged to make the most of the visibility afforded by Rinascente,” he added.
New projects for Milan Design Week include the restyling of the Kartell and Vitra concessions, and the opening of the Poltronova and &Klevering pop-up stores. Farm Rio, a Brazilian fashion label available exclusively at Rinascente for the first time in Italy, will continue to take over the store’s Air Snake display installation, showcasing a wide selection of handcrafted items.
In addition, for the store’s Rina Shop homeware line, with which Rinascente identifies design products inspired by the cities where it operates, the store is launching the new amaMI capsule collection, a line of design objects created in collaboration with 10 leading brands, dedicated to Milan and inspired by the city’s signature features. The collection, available exclusively at the Piazza Duomo store and online, has been developed in collaboration with MSGM, Seletti, Kartell, Moroni Gomma, 24 Bottles, Sciuraglam, Slurp, Tooy, Wood’d and Blitz. “It’s the first time we’re developing an initiative like this; each of the brands involved has created a tongue-in-cheek, extremely interesting representation of the city,” said Cocchini.
Finally, during Design Week, Saint Laurent is taking over the Rinascente Duomo’s shop windows. The label's creative director Anthony Vaccarello has devised a different installation for each of the store’s eight window displays, in collaboration with some of Paris’ most prestigious art galleries: Galerie Jousse, Galerie Patrick Seguin and Galerie Chastel Maréchal. The installations celebrate modern design through selected vintage pieces by some of the top designers and architects of the Art Deco and post-Art Deco periods, including, Pierre Paulin, Charlotte Perriand, Pierre Jeanneret, Jean Prouvé, Le Corbusier, Jacques Quinet, Paul Dupré-Lafon, Jean Prouvé, and Jean Michel Frank.
In the meantime, Rinascente is busy revamping some of its other Italian branches, as Cocchini explained: “After Turin and Florence, whose renovation will be celebrated next June in collaboration with Pitti, in May we will finish working on the Roma Fiume store, which has been completely transformed with an investment of about €28 million. On May 22, we will complete the first part of the renovation work on the Milan Duomo store’s second floor, home to menswear, involving just over half of the 2,000-square-metre area. The renovation’s second part will start immediately afterwards, and will end in October. The total investment is about €6 million.”
FashionNetwork.com has had the opportunity to preview the new premises, still under construction, and learnt that the make-over is designed to render the spaces more accessible, giving visitors more freedom to walk around. “The spaces dedicated to the various brands will no longer be divided by walls or metal structures, while the ceiling has been completely redesigned and will feature backlit panels. We decided to keep the original Piasentina stone floors, alternating them with unvarnished natural oak parquet. For the masonry, we opted for a cashmere-coloured Brenta limestone finish, it too unvarnished, for a neo-brutalist effect,” said Cocchini.
Results-wise, Rinascente closed fiscal 2022 with a total revenue nearly on par with that of 2019, at just under €800 million. The Milan Duomo store accounted for over half of the total, while the Rome Tritone store generated €150 million, and Florence, Turin and Rome Fiume about €50 million each.
“2023 started better than last year, so we’re confident that it will close with results higher than those recorded before the pandemic,” said Cocchini. “Revenue composition is different however: in the last few years, the share of business generated by local customers has significantly increased, and tourism revenue has changed. Before the pandemic, the ranking was led by European, Chinese, and Arab customers; today, China has been replaced by the Americas, especially the USA, thanks to the strong dollar, but also Canada and Brazil.”
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