Architecture and fashion are coming together. When Benito Mussolini conceived the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, also known as the 'Square Colosseum', as the most emblematic architectural statement of his Fascist dictatorship (governed Italy between 1922 and 1943) in 1937, he couldn’t have imagine that one day, this architectural masterpiece would become the headquarters of Fendi. The Italian dictator sought to transform Rome into the capital of his new empire, an urban complex designed for the 1942 world exhibition but, due to the events of the Second World War, wasn't occupied until 2013, when Fendi signed a 15-year lease of the building. The Italian fashion house has recently moved to this striking, six-story marble cube, which bears a strong political image, following an extensive renovation. To celebrate the occasion, the building is now open to the public with with an exhibition on its first floor entitled Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana and the Universal Exposition Rome. Featuring works of art borrowed from New York’s MoMA as well as photographs taken by Fendi creative director Karl Lagerfeld himself (seen in the gallery above), the exhibition traces the history of the palazzo from its conception to its role as a cultural icon over the decades and finally its new incarnation.
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