Michelle Hespe checks out one of Italy’s finest retail stores — Galleria Fiaba — which was one of six Global Honorees at the 2014 gia Global Innovation Awards held in Chicago.
The spectacular façade and the name of Galleria Fiaba, which is situated in the historical center of Vittoria, Sicily, reflects the overall store’s approach to retail: to be like a gallery showcasing fine objects for the home and lifestyle.
Everything about Galleria Fiaba is visually stunning, and just like most things Italian, there is a solid focus on beauty and style. The broad range of designer products are displayed as they would be in a modern art gallery, and the first thing that visitors to the store see towering before them is a polished, shining black wall with seven enormous display windows facing the street, lit up by 100 vibrant blue LED lights. The wall acts as a frame to the window displays and give anyone who looks at the building an idea of what lies within – stylish, modern products of the highest quality for discerning shoppers.
Galleria Fiaba was established in 1985 and is the brainchild of two sisters, Lucia and Salvatrice Rotondo. They set up the store with the aim of always staying ahead of others in terms of innovation and trends, and simply stocking beautiful products. Their motto is ‘self-improvement’ and everything they do in business is all about this – continually improving and going one step further.
Lucia’s husband, architect Giuseppe Scollo, and Giuseppe’s brother, engineer Gabriele Scollo, conceptualized the store’s design. The building had to be, in terms of function and aesthetics, like a modern art gallery. Inside the store, visitors can see most other areas of the 750 square meter space, because of the open plan nature of the building design, with a stainless steel structure, the shining black stairs that from a distance appear suspended, and a glass elevator from which people can see everything that they pass by. The whole idea is that while standing in any area of the store, a visitor can see all other objects displayed.
The store offers everything from porcelain, silverware, crystal and lighting to top-line homewares and objects to enhance garden and outdoor areas. All products are chosen to reflect the nature of the business: beauty and innovation taking center stage. Brands such as Alessi, Baccarat, Rosenthal, Lalique, Hermes and Royal Copenhagen sum up the attitude that only the best will do when it comes to products showcased.
In line with the focus on innovation, Galleria Fiaba always aims to stay ahead of customers’ needs, by suggesting things to them before they even know of an upcoming trend or new product on the market. In this way, the business is considered by its many loyal customers as a true trendsetter and a place to go to for inspiration.
The sisters also place a big focus on entertaining their customers, and in true Italian style, the events at Galleria Fiaba are always impressive and on a large scale. Wine and gastronomic events, fashion parades, temporary exhibitions of cult Italian design pieces, all add to the gallery-like approach of the business, and they certainly keep customers coming back. An example of one recent event was a fashion parade created in collaboration with Pepita – a haute couture boutique, where new collections from great designers such as Blumarine, Moschino and Alberta Ferretti were presented to more than 400 customers. Many of the events feature renowned DJs and caterers with barmen, to keep customers well fed, entertained and the drinks and excitement flowing. There is always an air of ‘cool’ at Galleria Fiaba, as the business always sticks to its mission of being a true trendsetter.
At the Global Innovation Awards in Chicago, when Galleria Fiaba was announced as being one of the six Global Honorees, a very excited Laura Scollo, Lucia’s daughter, and her father took to the stage. And although they could not speak much to the crowd in English, their excitement and gratitude was contagious. “We are so, so happy,” said Laura. “We are so proud of being a winner at gia! Thank you! Thank you!”
Soon Galleria Fiaba is to venture online, so watch this space. If the website and online shopping portal is even half as cool and stylish as the bricks and mortar experience of Galleria Fiaba, then there is no doubt that it will generate more business and herald more decades of retail success for this talented Italian family.
For more information about the gia (Global Innovation Award) program, the co-sponsors, or participating in 2014-2015, contact Piritta Törrö at email@example.com. Additional information on the gia program is also available online at http://www.housewares.org/show/gia-retail.
For more information about the International Home + Housewares Show and to pre-register for the 2015 Show, taking place in Chicago on March 7-10, 2015, please visit www.housewares.org.