A Dolce & Gabbana Boutique Finds Inspiration in the Sistine Chapel



“I had no fear that the architecture would overpower the products. I was more worried about the opposite occurring.”

—Eric Carlson, principal, Carbondale, to Architectural Record

Plenty of retailers achieve brand consistency with a copy-and-paste approach to their design-build projects. But luxury fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana takes a different tack: collaborating with different architects for each location, rather than adopting identical project specs. For a boutique in a 16th-century palazzo in Rome, Italy, the fashion brand tapped architecture studio Carbondale.

The project team took inspiration from the Sistine Chapel, using a full-length mirror wall to help the half-vaulted space appear fully vaulted. For the image that would dominate the space, the team carefully scanned an 18th-century fresco, created by Austrian painter Paul Troger, and digitally transformed it into a four-minute animation of undulating Roman gods and cherubs. The ceiling and walls were outfitted with LED screens, and Gregorian chants looped through the audio system.

The result is an immersive digital experience that's as over-the-top as the fashion brand itself. And while the finished project isn't an exact replica of the Sistine Chapel, it is a digital, modern cathedral to fashion.


Dolce & Gabbana retail boutique


Piazza di Spagna in Rome, Italy


The team's goal was to create a space that reflects “a city synonymous with magnificence and uniqueness.”



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