Benetton has raised the curtains on a new store concept in Florence. Featuring intensive use of sustainable materials and state-of-the-art, energy-saving technologies, this new location is a real trailblazer for a revolutionary approach to low environmental impact retail.
The result of an intensive research and innovation effort, the new store is part of a major sustainability project that Benetton is carrying out to consolidate best practices, improve its environmental and social performance throughout the supply chain, and become a model for sustainable fashion – not only in Italy, but throughout the entire world.
“The concept behind this store is unique in the world. It was developed to launch a new phase for our firm,” Massimo Renon, Benetton Group Chief Executive Officer, commented. “It’s a project our company firmly believes in, a milestone on our path to becoming a global reference point in terms of sustainability, and in which Florence represents the symbol of a sustainable Rinascimento. Benetton has always made courageous and cutting-edge choices in terms of social impact. We will continue in this tradition, with ever more determination and conviction.”
The 160-square meter, single floor boutique makes abundant use of upcycled natural materials. The floor is made with gravel from the river Piave and waste wood from beech trees brought down by Vaia (a storm that hit the Italian Veneto region in 2018), while the walls are treated with a mineral paint with antibacterial and anti-mold properties that can also reduce pollutants in the environment.
The store interiors are made with new materials created from textile industry scrap: the perimeter platforms and bases of the display stands are made with a compound created from used buttons (difficult to dispose of) mixed in hydro-resin; recycled wool (in its raw wick state) is reused in the design of the perimeter lining and as decoration for the curtains of the dressing rooms; shelves, display bases and mannequins are made in “rossino”, a material created from upcycled, mixed textile fibres.
The shop window displays make use of sustainable solutions that reduce the use of resources. Transparent panels fixed to the ceiling can be moved at will, creating a sort of theatrical backdrop that forms a connection between the store and the street. The windows are equipped with low environmental impact transparent LED screens, which will feature content about product visuals, commercial information and communication.
The Florence boutique is also a benchmark in terms of power consumption: the new shop uses 20% less energy than a standard store. A system based on tiny sensors, artificial intelligence and data analysis maximizes the energy efficiency of the points of sale and guarantees comfort for the customer, for example by automatically adjusting store temperature based on the amount of people in the shop.
Visitors to the store can choose from among the wide range of United Colors of Benetton sustainable garments in organic, recycled or BCI (Better Cotton Initiative) cotton, regenerated nylon, natural fibres such as linen, and other sustainable materials. Customers can then choose to take their purchases home in either washable, easily recyclable organic cotton bags or in paper bags made with materials sourced from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified forests.