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T Fondaco dei Tedeschi, Venice

Epic luxury

Our executive creative director and founder, Jonathan Penton, has described T Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice as the best department store he has ever seen (and he’s seen a lot of department stores).

T Fondaco dei Tedeschi opened last October, occupying one of Venice’s landmarks right next to the Rialto bridge. The building, which dates back to 1228 and was once used by Napoleon as a customs hall, was last incarnated as the city’s main post office before being sold in 2009. The transformation is sensational and the shopping experience out of this world.

The store opens out over three floors of galleries overlooking the grand central atrium, and the attention to detail across every element is impeccable.

Customer service is superb, adding to the sense of occasion from first moment of entry.

T Fondaco dei Tedeschi has very clearly set out its stall as a destination store for the international luxury shopper.

It is unashamedly extravagant – red escalators, gold lifts, and a Philippe Starck designed café run by the same family behind Quadri on Piazza San Marco.

Each gallery leads on to a series of rooms where luxury brands are presented against a backdrop of ultra-modern design juxtaposed by classic Venetian architecture.

Above the retail floors is the event pavilion and rooftop terrace with uninterrupted views across Venice.

Although aimed at the well-heeled tourist and international luxury shopper, there is something here for everyone. Even the usual kitsch souvenirs, but of the highest quality.

Each department is well curated with gorgeous hotspots and carefully considered visual merchandising.

No expense has been spared. The cloth-draped table below is exquisitely sculpted from solid marble. Created in 3 parts, it took 12 men to move each piece into place.

Every piece of custom-made furniture throughout the store whispers quality. Anything else in a space like this would be incongruous.

Customer service on the day of our visit was outstanding. Every member of staff we encountered was an ambassador to the store – helpful, unhurried, and knowledgeable.

Our verdict? Love it. Go early to avoid the crowds, forget about the time once you’re in, and burn the receipts when you get home.

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