Technology may be paving the way for experiential retail but in Gucci’s case, it’s history and a Florentine palazzo that dates back to 1337. Gucci’s latest endeavour, dubbed ‘Gucci Garden’, is housed inside the Palazzo della Mercanzia, the same location as Gucci Museo which opened in 2011. Conceived by none other than the brand’s creative director Alessandro Michele, Gucci Garden is a multi-level galleria – a dandified gift shop, if you will – that features bespoke products, archive pieces and fine dining. Here’s a quick primer before you go:
1. It costs €8 to enter
Gucci Garden pays tribute to the craftsmanship that echoes the palazzo’s mercantile origins and the House’s history of artisan workmanship. Therefore, half of the €8 entrance for the Gucci Garden Galleria will be donated to support restoration projects in the city of Florence, where the brand was founded in 1921. To be fair, only the first and second floors require a fee; the ground floor is free to enter.
2. The name ‘Gucci Garden’ also has a metaphorical meaning
Although the House aesthetic encompasses references to the natural world of plants, flowers and animals, Michele claims that “it belongs above all to the mind, populated with plants and animals: like the snake, which slips in everywhere, and in a sense, symbolises a perpetual beginning and a perpetual return.”
3. It sells one-of-a-kind products that are exclusive to the location
At the bazaar-like retail space on the ground floor, products with exclusive packaging, clothes such as brocade skirts and silk bomber jackets with the Gucci Garden Gothic script you won’t find outside, as well as pieces from the Gucci Décor collection are for sale. It also carries a special selection of magazine and books – both niche titles and antique tomes – from the Antica Libreria Cascianelli in Rome, lending them a collectible allure.
4 It’s also a meeting point between the past and the present
The Gucci Garden Galleria, organised by theme, is strewn with clothing, accessories, video installations, artworks, documents and artefacts over the two floors. But you’ll also find modern curation blended with items from the Gucci archive – artists Jayde Fish, Trevor Andrew (aka GucciGhost) and Coco Capitán have been invited to decorate the walls. Their works sit alongside a giant 19th-century equestrian oil portrait, Fantino con bambina by Domenico Induno.
5. Chef Massimo Bottura runs a fine-dining restaurant on the ground floor
Massimo Bottura, chef of three-Michelin starred Osteria Francescana (also featured in Aziz Ansari’s Master of None), helms this new fine dining outpost Osteria Gucci. Plush green velvet seating, renaissance stone carvings and sleek furniture dominate the décor of the restaurant, which serves food that’s inspired by Bottura’s travels.
The Gucci Garden, Piazza della Mercanzia 4, 40125 Bologna, Italy. Open daily. Store, 10am-7.30pm; galleria, 10am-7.30pm (6.30pm last entry); Gucci Osteria, reservations 12noon-10.30pm.