carbondale installs digital fresco in dolce & gabbana's latest rome store

carbondale installs digital fresco in dolce & gabbana's latest rome store

a digital fresco decorates one of the interior spaces of dolce and gabbana‘s latest retail store in rome, offering a contemporary twist on the city’s rich cultural heritage. eric carlson and his paris-based architecture office carbondale designed the store in collaboration with domenico dolce and stefano gabbana, founders of the italian fashion house.

images courtesy of carbondale



set over 800 square-meters, the two level luxury boutique is an amalgamation of dolce and gabbana‘s house codes and details inspired by the city. home to the seven wonders, carbondale installed 59 columns throughout the store’s 11 interior spaces, a unifying element that pays tribute to rome’s the immense architectural and engineering achievements.



upon entering, visitors are drawn into a grand room spanning 22 meters with a 6 meter high ceiling. the space is capped with two skylight domes, each lined in gradating colored rings of handmade stone mosaics.



the raw concrete walls of the ‘vatican-scaled’ space are punctuated with glass covered moiré silk panels in a luminous cardinal-red. beneath them is a floor which features 15 different types of marble that are geometrically collaged in colours ranging from veined blacks and greys, intense yellows to red, ivory and creams, blue quartz and mother-of-pearl whites.



echoing the opulent 16th century palazzo romano each space is designed as a modern palatial room of stone, color and light. the walls are striated with vertical floor-to-ceiling bands of different marble types and combinations. each ceiling is ringed with a bushed brass frame and raised with a central skylight of illuminated azul cielo marble.



bringing the store and it’s honoring of styles past into the modern day, a contemporary take on baroque digitally transforms paul troger’s 18th century ceiling fresco to decorate a linear gallery on the upper floor.


through the use of curved led ceiling and wall screens, hercules and athena are brought to life engulfed in billowing dark clouds of thunder and lightening that slowly give way to a rising sun while surrounded by the penetrating vibrations of gregorian chants.



the digital installation is inspired by the vatican’s sistine chapel and its gallery of maps, 40 maps frescoed on the walls that illustrate the length and breadth of the italian peninsula circa 1580.



the architect also wanted to convey the famous styling of italian baroque, in particular the illusion of ‘forced perspective.’ three sequential spaces vary in size, ceiling heights and column proportions to create the magic illusion of depth. this is further accentuated by busy floor patterns, which also differ, and hand-blown murano glass chandeliers that are designed in 3 different scales.



on the floor, white calacatta marble is decorated with more handcrafted stone mosaic tiles that depict the she-wolf, an icon of a 2000-year-old roman myth. it nurses the reputed founders of the city, romulus and remus, who are represented as superheroes with a polished brass ‘D’ and ‘G’ emblazoned on their chests.



latin inscriptions are captured on various spaces throughout the store, a nod to rome’s rich culture of literature, philosophy and poetry. elsewhere, marble and polished brass letters are inset into stone mosaic floor crests and doorways that punctuate each space.



the sequence of spaces with an intimate space dedicated to men’s tailoring. this room is enveloped in 3 tones of lacquered woods including panels of smoked redgum, walnut, dark ebony and bars of polished brass that vertically line the walls and vaulted ceiling.



project info


architects: carbondale

client: dolce and gabbana

type: retail store

size: 800 sqm

location: rome

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