Inside Benetton’s archive

Part showroom, part museum and part archive, Benetton Studios presents a fascinating history of the brand

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.

Exterior view of Benetton Studios
Exterior view of Benetton Studios
Benetton Studios catwalk area
Benetton Studios catwalk area

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.

Benetton-sponsored racing cars inside Benetton Studios
Benetton-sponsored racing cars inside Benetton Studios
Classic Benetton advertising displayed at its Studios space
Classic Benetton advertising displayed at its Studios space

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.

Benetton Archive
Benetton Archive

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.

Carrier bag display at Benetton Studios
Carrier bag display at Benetton Studios
Carrier bag display at Benetton Studios
Carrier bag display at Benetton Studios
Carrier bag display at Benetton Studios
Carrier bag display at Benetton Studios

A wall is covered with carrier bags while display cases contain textile samples, brochures and drawings.

Display case at Benetton's archive
Display case at Benetton’s archive featuring Toscani’s death row project
Textile samples in display case at Benetton's archive
Textile samples in display case at Benetton’s archive
Display case at Benetton's archive
Display case at Benetton’s archive featuring Colors magazine and catalogues
Display case at Benetton's archive
Display case at Benetton’s archive
Display case at Benetton's archive
Display case at Benetton’s archive
Display case at Benetton's archive
Display case at Benetton’s archive
Display case at Benetton's archive
Display case at Benetton’s archive

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.

Archive shelving
Archive shelving

Plan chests and moveable shelving display proofs of ad campaigns from throughout the company’s 50-year history.

Ad proofs on display at Benetton's archive
Ad proofs on display at Benetton’s archive

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