Gucci Museum

The Gucci Museum is located on the central Piazza della Signoria in Florence within the historic Palazzo della Mercanzia, and is a showcase for the label’s history of fashion design. The building comprises three floors of exhibition spaces, a cafe, a book-store, an iconic leather goods store and offices. The three rooms on the left side of the ground floor, originally conceived as a huge space housing the tribunal af the arts, are today the commercial part of the museum. Conceived by Frida Giannini, creative director of the fashion house, and designed together with Studio IO, the three rooms are today a sequence of spaces dedicated to relax and culture. The combination of natural materials, mainly hand waxed cold rolled steel and rosewood, is used to research a serene elegance to be juxtaposed to the stern elegance of the building. A system of steel encasings was adopted to rebalance, in a play of light and shadows, the proportions of the rooms that had been somehow distorted by some renovations carried out between the 19th and the 20th century. The furniture is also used as a mean to frame the space modulating private and public spaces. Private and cozy corners are generated, perfect for a good reading or for a quiet talk, but everything remains open to the luminous beauty of Piazza della Signoria. One of the rooms houses a social table, mixing private and public together. The table sits under one of the huge bookshelves, that are built around the coats of arms of the Florentine artisans guilds (called Arts).This is a soft mean of emphasizing the eternal relationship between arts and craftmanship that is peculiar to the city and that ties the history of Gucci to that of the palace so properly. On the right side of the entrance starts the museum, that runs through the first and part of the second floor. The restoration project balances tradition with modernity in order to build a proficuous interaction between the historical building and the exhibition space that needs a contemporary flexibility. So the walls are treated with a traditional tecnique that has been used for centuries in Florence that, shading white with gray, turns the walls in a neutral background, so perfect for an exhibit, but not dull. The floor is covered with pietra serena, a stone used traditionally in most ancient buildings, but it hides a technical system that is accessible from recesses that are part of the graphical design of the floor. This technical system allows to support every possible exhibit layout. The current one, designed by the firm LEAA, consists in metal displays and in recessed lights in the structure’s uprights designed by Mario Nanni, who also designed the lighting of the commercial area. Part of the first floor is currently dedicated to contemporary art exhibits while part of the second floor is occupied by meeting rooms designed to be flexible enough to change their configuration to host different events.