The material side

The international fashion giants engage in an ultra-funded game of Monopoly at high stakes, while design is attracted by the processes of fine craftsmanship. The match between Real World and Metaverse seems to have already been forgotten. But the future has yet to be depicted

Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel, Venezia

In recent months there have been two news items that seem to be only vaguely connected, but actually have many points of contact (starting with the protagonist, the luxury powerhouse Kering). First: in Milan Kering has acquired a building on Via Monte Napoleone for 1.3 billion euros. The total floorspace, according to reports from, measures 11,800 square meters (of which 5000 contain commercial spaces): the value per square meter would therefore be over 110,000 euros, in the largest transaction of a single asset ever completed in Italy. For the group, this is combined with high-profile acquisitions in other cities of the world: New York, Tokyo, Paris.

Bottega Veneta, Palazzo van Axel

Second: Bottega Veneta (a brand of Kering Group) has announced the creation in Venice of Palazzo Bottega Veneta, a special place conceived to host experiences and events for the company’s top clients. The interiors, designed by the creative director Mathieu Blazy, are a mixture of the 15th-century architecture of the building (Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel) in dialogue with pieces of contemporary art and design.

Palazzo Van Axel – Photo © Matteo Canestraro
Zaventem Ateliers, KRJST Studio

In spite of all the wagers on the Metaverse, apparently the real world is still holding the winning cards. Fashion and luxury, as usual, are the trailblazers – but we can also see this in the world of design, in the remarkable energy many companies put into the retail sector, which is rightfully seen as crucial. And the increasing widespread interest in collectible design speaks of a fascination – on the part of the public – with process of making, craftsmanship, the material side of things. Which can then be intertwined with technology or digital processing in unpredictable and brilliant ways. Because creativity never stands still.