Situated in the countryside outside Treviso in northern Italy, Benetton’s HQ is suitably impressive. The corporate headquarters are housed in a converted palazzo while the manufacturing and warehousing units are state-of -the-art. One of these hangar-like buildings has been converted into Benetton Studios.
Last week, the space hosted a major press launch for Benetton’s Collections of Us range and Women Empowerment Program. Visitors were ushered through the first of several huge rooms, this one converted into a mini-theatre for fashion catwalk shows.
The next rooms, however, will be of more interest to CR readers. In one football-pitch-sized space are parked a selection of Benetton’s championship-winning racing cars. Around the walls are large-scale reproductions of its advertising, from the black and white early, innocent, days through to Toscani’s arresting provocations.
Into another room and you discover the Archive – 50 years’ worth of sketches, designs, marketing material and packaging. Though open to the press on this particular day, the archive, which was created by Fabrica, Benetton’s creative research centre, primarily serves as a resource for employees.
A wall is covered with carrier bags while display cases contain textile samples, brochures and drawings.
A central display shows archive clothing while two-storey racks of metal shelving at the back of the room contain a treasure trove of design material.
Plan chests and moveable shelving display proofs of ad campaigns from throughout the company’s 50-year history.