zara flagship store in rome image courtesy inditex

fashion distributor inditex group has opened a new zara flagship store on via del corso in rome, italy. housed in the palazzo bocconi, a historic building dating back more than 120 years, the group has engaged italian architecture firm duccio grassi for the redesign and renovation of the palazzo. the 5000 m2 store is also a part of an ambitious sustainable plan which will implement the most up-to-date environmental standards at each of the group’s stores, with a strategic target of 2020 for all establishments to meet these criteria.

zara via del corso flagship store in rome image courtesy inditex

sitting on one of the capital’s most central intersections, the historic palazzo features steel supports and columns throughout its four-storey design. a central atrium defines the interior, highlighting the verticality of the space which is further emphasized by an optical illusion caused by the decreasing heights of each level. departing from the circular gesture of the atrium cut-out, the redesign circulates around the atrium with the escalators and stair access stacked along the eastern wall.

zara via del corso flagship store in rome (left) circular mirror above the shopping space (right) temporary installation made out of silicone tubing images © designboom

the four identical facades feature three large arches on the lower floors and smaller arches on the upper floor. a double skin of perforated panels disguise the building’s inner layout while still allowing natural daylight to filter through from all sides. at night, the store glows from the inside like a lantern to highlight the ‘hung curtain’ effect of the perforation, showing glimpses of the interior movement to the people on the street. the double skin panels also serve as display aids, enabling the store to set up shelving and rods without the need of an inflexible additive system.

zara via del corso flagship store in rome looking down the atrium image courtesy inditex

zara via del corso flagship store in rome (left) double layer perforated panels (right) detail images © designboom

zara via del corso flagship store in rome perforation serves as display hangers image © designboom

the new location, which is inditex group’s 5000th store, is aiming to achieve a platinum rating, the highest score awarded under LEED. with the support of experts and technicians, a set of framework was established for maximum eco-efficiency. some highlights include an automatic monitoring of the store’s indoor air quality, motion detected lights in low-traffic areas, an air curtain system at the entrance which monitors exterior temperatures to prevent abrupt indoor air temperature changes, and user-sensitive escalators. all wood used in the renovation is FSC-certified and the consumer paper bags are PEFC-certified. the resulting store consumes 30% less energy than the average department store, uses 80% less water and avoids emitting more than 200 tonnes of atmospheric CO2.

zara via del corso flagship store in rome (left) motion sensitive escalators (right) staircase images © designboom

zara via del corso flagship store in rome exterior view at night image © designboom