Florence is one of the most famous Italian cities, a symbol for over five centuries of the unique synthesis of art, culture and taste that is the unmistakable trademark of Italy. Here Minotti has decided to open a new flagship store (Minotti Firenze by Belvedere, Piazza degli Strozzi 10): a choice that reflects the brand’s strategy, with 47 single-brand points of sale in the world, but also an accent on the potential of the distribution network in Italy.
“My 25 years as art director of Minotti have represented a long shared pathway that has led to strong synergies and a fertile professional relationship. Many things have changed since the start of our collaboration, but one thing has remained the same, namely our curiosity, along with our enthusiasm,” says Rodolfo Dordoni, art director of the brand, for the occasion of the opening of this new space.
The site selected for the showroom, on two levels for an area of about 250 square meters, is in the heart of the city, close to the Renaissance masterpiece of Palazzo Strozzi. The timeless contemporary vision of Minotti is shifted into the architectural language of this historic building, with a façade featuring arcades. Most of the display area is on ground level, while the first floor contains operative offices, a boardroom and the managerial office.
“Florence is a peerless city in Italian history,” says Susanna Minotti, head of interior decoration of the company, representing its third generation. “For Minotti, it is a source of great pride to open a flagship store capable of expressing the brand’s values through the uniqueness of its products, while conveying the most genuine concept of Made in Italy in one of its most important settings, visited by people from all over the world. For the design of the space, we have worked on multiple scales, starting from one question: how can Minotti meet Florence? The main focus has been on the building and its history, to be preserved through the existing architectural features; it has been an encounter between different types of DNA, precisely as happens when you work with a designer, and two approaches have to converge into a new, ‘other’ approach that contains aspects of both sides. One fundamental factor has also been the dialogue with the city and the piazza: the exposure on two sides (Piazza Strozzi and Via Monalda) and the large windows make this a totally permeable place, a display space that mingles and interacts with the city: I like to think of the new Minotti Firenze as a salon, in the humanistic sense, a place to meet and to exchange.”
“The store also has a decidedly European style, in which to express the more domestic character of the Minotti collections, starting from the sizing of the spaces, all the way to the selection of the furnishings and the decorations,” Susanna Minotti continues. “Finally, another important factor today is the quality of the service offered to clients who visit the store: in recent years, especially after the pandemic, we have paid close attention to hybrid spaces in which to welcome clients and work with them, guaranteeing privacy, care and time, boosting the value of the customer experience.”
Amidst contemplation, a focus on the genius loci and respect for heritage, the Renaissance enclosure has been left intact, and the display design has been developed around the theme of the “second skin”: capitals, vaulted ceilings and pilaster strips enter a dialogue with the contemporary box set down in their spaces. The palette of colors and the choice of materials play with contrasts: between paneling and suspended ceilings in wenge-stained oak, white plaster, brushed steel, travertine. A coexistence of different epochs, also accentuated by the connection between the two levels, a 19th-century staircase with stone steps, a balustrade in wrought iron and a handrail in wood, polished by time.
The visit pathway features a series of spaces, where the passage from one to the next is marked by portals in wenge-stained oak that also become the architectural sign utilized in the vicinity of changes in the flooring. Between architectural grandeur and the dimension of a contemporary “European domesticity,” this showroom – also enhanced by a selection of contemporary artworks – stands out as a place in which it is possible to see and touch new products and furnishings from the collection, in a setting capable of stimulating ideas. Where the present and history meet to create something new.