DFS Group, the world’s leading luxury travel retailer, opens its doors on October 1 at T Fondaco dei Tedeschi by DFS in the historic heart of Venice, on the Grand Canal, within a landmark building once famed as a center of commerce between East and West. T Fondaco dei Tedeschi offers an exceptional collection of the most desired luxury products from Italian and international brands across 7,000 square meters of retail space, in the categories of fashion and accessories, watches and jewelry, wines and spirits, and beauty and fragrances, alongside a carefully curated selection of locally handcrafted artisan products and premium food. In addition, the store will provide a new cultural hub for the city of Venice, promoting events and exhibitions that complement the city’s annual calendar of activities.
For over 55 years, DFS, which is privately held and majority owned by the world’s largest luxury conglomerate Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), has provided global travelers with luxurious and inspiring shopping experiences in some of the most iconic travel destinations around the world, from Los Angeles to Sydney, Honolulu to Okinawa, Hong Kong to Singapore, and Bali to Siem Reap. Now, the company once again draws on its unparalleled expertise, as well as its deep relationships with some of the world’s best-known brands, to curate a one-stop lifestyle department store unlike any in Europe.
“It is an enormous privilege for DFS to be able to make its first European foothold in Venice, the center of global trade for many centuries and now one of the most popular travel destinations in the world,” said Philippe Schaus, DFS Group’s Chairman and CEO. “T Fondaco dei Tedeschi will be much more than a shopping venue, combining international, Italian and local products, culture and entertainment together with all the experiences of an incredible historic setting.”
Located on the Grand Canal, a few steps away from the famous Rialto Bridge and within walking distance from St Mark’s Square, the new store occupies one of the city’s most venerated buildings, the 800-year old Fondaco dei Tedeschi, which began its life as a place of exchange for northern merchants and was used for centuries to trade spices, silk and other goods between the Orient and Europe. The renovation of the building was entrusted to the eminent architect and urbanist Rem Koolhaas who, with his architectural firm OMA, has meticulously restored and transformed it into a grand trading emporium spanning four stories. Inside, a sumptuous interior design by architect Jamie Fobert celebrates the traditional elements, textures and shapes of Venice to produce a truly spectacular store bridging tradition and modernity.
On the ground floor level, originally a bustling medieval courtyard, T Fondaco dei Tedeschi presents the Gucci and Bottega Veneta concept boutiques on the Grand Canal as well as a range of Italian fashion accessories and jewelry. In addition, a carefully selected assortment of food, wine and gifts celebrates local craftsmanship and the Italian zest for life.
The first floor, accessed by a rich red-hued escalator designed by OMA, features women’s fashion, jewelry and accessories from brands including, among many others, Bulgari, Damiani, Fendi, Lanvin, Max Mara, Tiffany & Co and Valentino. The second floor introduces Venice’s only multi-brand luxury watch area, with a large offering of brands like Cartier, Hublot, Omega and Panerai, along with a curated selection of men’s fashion and accessories brands including Brioni, Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo, Moncler, Ermenegildo Zegna and many more. On the third floor, Venice’s most exclusive designer women’s shoe salon and largest offering of beauty and fragrance products offers customers the added pleasure of gazing out through the arching arcades that line the floor’s inner terrazzo corridor. Featured brands on this floor include the likes of Aquazzura, René Caovilla, Jimmy Choo and Giuseppe Zanotti in the magnificently designed shoe salon, and for the beauty world, a large array of Italian and international brands including Acqua di Parma, Dior, Estée Lauder, Lancôme, and The Merchant of Venice.
Above the retail space, T Fondaco dei Tedeschi features an entire floor dedicated to events and exhibitions that will be open to the public, creating a vibrant meeting place and cultural venue for Venetian residents and travelers alike and opening onto a rooftop terrace with a unique and breathtaking panoramic view of Venice, reaching from the Grand Canal to the Venetian Lagoon and beyond to the peaks of the nearby Italian Alps. The first exhibition, a video installation entitled “Under Water” by internationally renowned Italian multimedia artist Fabrizio Plessi, will debut with the opening of the store on October 1.
“Each of our downtown department stores reflects DFS’ passion for travel, quality merchandise and exceptional customer service and experience,” said Philippe Schaus. “With T Fondaco dei Tedeschi, we are proud to set a new global benchmark in the world of luxury department stores and to re-establish the connection between commerce and culture in the historic heart of Venice.”