Venice’s landmark Procuratie Vecchie on Saint Mark’s Square opens to the public today after an extensive five-year recovery work carried out by David Chipperfield Architects Milan, unveiling and showcasing the building’s heritage, called to a new international social purpose.
The initiative is under the patronage of the Italian Ministries of Culture and Tourism.
Generali Group CEO Philippe Donnet said:
“The re-opening of the Procuratie Vecchie represents a historic moment both for the local and the international communities. After five centuries, this world-famous iconic building still reflects part of the Procurators’ original mission: helping society’s weakest. It is the home of our initiative, The Human Safety Net, that will be a place for exchanging ideas and dialogue to overcome the major social challenges of today’s world as well as to inspire visitors to take action to unleash the potential of people living in vulnerable conditions. A space open to everyone that also fully supports the project to make Venice the world capital of sustainability. There could be no better way to conclude the celebrations that began last year for the 190-year anniversary of Generali, now made even more special with the announcement of our partnership with the United Nations Development Programme. I thank all those who have made it possible to achieve this outstanding milestone in our Group’s history.”
Sir David Chipperfield said:
“We are grateful to Generali and the city of Venice for giving us the extraordinary opportunity to work on the Procuratie Vecchie. Repairing, reunifying and adapting the many layers of this historic structure has been a highly complex and rewarding challenge that reconnects us to the power of architecture both as physical substance and as a process of collaboration. We look forward to seeing the building re-embed itself into the city, supporting Venice as a living place of activity and innovation.”
Open to the public for the first time, the over-500-year-old building stretching along the entire north side of the square will be home to Generali’s initiative, The Human Safety Net, which aims to unleash the potential of people living in vulnerable circumstances so that they can improve the living conditions of their families and communities.
The third floor features an exhibition, ‘A World of Potential’, curated by Orna Cohen of Dialogue Social Enterprise. It offers visitors a personalised experience of The Human Safety Net, its purpose and its work with disadvantaged people in 23 countries. The exhibition path also helps visitors connect with their personal potential by exploring their own character strengths, while enabling them to see the best qualities in the people around them.
At the other end of the building, The Hall is a new state-of-the-art auditorium to host international symposiums, congresses and events that have sustainability objectives at their core. It will be a venue to amplify the global conversation about the issues that The Human Safety Net works on: early childhood development, parenting, social impact, inclusion and social entrepreneurship.
At the heart of the third floor, The Hub is a co-working space where The Human Safety Net’s teams, their NGO partners, programme beneficiaries and volunteers can all meet up and collaborate with a common purpose, as well as visit The Café managed by Illy, which is also open to the public visiting the third floor.
The artistic direction of the first floor was curated by Davide Rampello of Davide Rampello & Partners Creative Studio, while interior and exhibition design, set-up, graphics and multi-media were curated by Migliore+Servetto.
An impressive recovery project that gives new life to St. Mark’s Square
The opening ceremony hailed the building’s long history and Generali’s ties to Venice while looking to the future. A flotilla of traditional boats from Generali’s squero, driven by employees, delivered ‘l’alzaremi’, a raised-oars traditional salute to welcome invitees from the world of Italian and European politics and culture. They will be greeted by a choir on the square and a display of traditional banners on the Procuratie Vecchie’s façade, featured a modern twist to reflect Generali’s ambition to give the building its new social purpose. The new main staircases house an installation by the Italian sculptor Edoardo Tresoldi.
Generali itself will maintain representative offices in the building, as will local businesses, cultural institutions and foundations. The recovery project was overseen by David Chipperfield Architects Milan.
Generali and the United Nations Development Programme
Generali today signs an ambitious multi-year agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Under this partnership, Generali commits to providing both technical and financial resources to UNDPs’ Insurance and Risk Finance Facility (IRFF), UNDP’s platform for the development and deployment of insurance and risk finance solutions to development, and part of UNDP’s Sustainable Finance Hub.
Focusing on designing innovative, insurance-related solutions that accelerate the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals, Generali and UNDP will, amongst other areas of cooperation, work together to explore new parametric instruments that attract risk capital, strengthen SMEs, increase climate and financial resilience, reduce vulnerability, and deliver value for money in the context of sustainable development.
How to visit
The Procuratie Vecchie will be open to the public from Wednesday to Monday (10.00 am-7.00 pm, last admission at 6.00 pm). Visitor information is available at www.thehumansafetynet.org/visitaworldofpotential. Half the price of every ticket will be donated to The Human Safety Net programme of the visitors’ choice.