Italian insurance giant Generali Group has appointed David Chipperfield Architects to undertake the restoration of a historic building in St Mark’s Square, Venice, which will see it opened to the public for the first time in 500 years.
Once restored the Procuratie Vecchie will be the administrative HQ for Generali’s new initiative The Human Safety Net. It has been set up to help some of the most vulnerable communities around the world, providing assistance to those in need. Its programmes include support for families living in poverty and “refugee startups,” and research into infant asphyxia.
Generali said it will undertake a “unique restoration” that will bring together other parts of the square and the Royal Gardens. When complete, it will re-establish historic paths to and from St Mark’s Square. David Chipperfield Architects will be applying an approach that will allow for a “respectful transformation”.
David Chipperfield, principal of the firm commented: “The Human Safety Net and its home in Venice, a city steeped in history and culture, brings together knowledge and inspiration for the common good. I am delighted to be working on this architecturally and socially coherent project, which will convey and connect ideas and people around the world.”
The Procuratie Vecchie will provide an open door for people to seek inspiration from programmes, exchange ideas and volunteer to take collective action. The hub will host regular public exhibitions, events and discussions on pressing social and demographic challenges from poverty to migration.
Chipperfield explained the collaborative aim for the project: “Working closely with Generali, we have a vision to transform the Procuratie Vecchie into a more active and engaged space, which embodies the global mission of The Human Safety Net, while retaining the dignified beauty and history of the buildings.”
Philippe Donnet, CEO of Generali Group explained why the the insurer decided to work with Chipperfield on the project: “David Chipperfield was a natural choice due to his love of Venice and shared vision for an architecturally and socially coherent restoration.”
He added: “By opening the Procuratie Vecchie to the public for the first time in nearly five centuries, we are creating new and vibrant spaces where people can meet to discuss some of today’s most pressing social and global issues. Venice has long been a crossroads of different cultures from around the world, and we hope to build on this tradition through The Human Safety Net and our movement of ‘people helping people’.”