Located near the Arch of Janus in one of Rome’s most charming districts, after years of neglect Palazzo Velabro has recently returned to its original splendor thanks to thorough renovation promoted by Alda Fendi. The collector and patron of the arts, after falling in love with the building, entrusted architect Jean Nouvel – creative mind behind the Ferrari factory’s New Assembly Lines and the Abu Dhabi Louvre – with the project.
By restoring and merging the three original parts of the building, a new structure named Rhinoceros came to life: 3,500 square meters that are now home to the Alda Fendi Foundation, an art gallery, a restaurant with open terrace and The Rooms of Rome – twenty-five apartments reserved for artists and curators, inspired by the common theme of “thought”, which was translated into twenty-five languages. The new concept of hospitality was curated by Kike Sarasola, a Spanish entrepreneur, who designed a format between art and dreams.
Jean Nouvel designed this huge space following the concept of “stratification”, starting from the building’s original walls, in contrast with the modern quality of systems and materials inside. All structural modifications were left visible, from interspaces to architraves, in a game of constant references that of course includes mirrors, to echo this special place’s history.
Like layers of life, between yesterday and today, each room’s architecture evokes steel boxes that contain the present, leaning on memories and looking out to the past. Indeed, the windows here open up to a beautiful view over the Roman Forum, the hills, and the domes and roofs of the Eternal City.