Benetton opens first ultra-eco store as it unveils new concept
As Europe gets ready to reopen, expect a raft of innovative store debuts. The latest is Benetton, which has unveiled its new store concept in Florence, the focus being on sustainability.
The new location is all about upcycled materials and energy efficiency with the company ambitiously saying it “sets the benchmark for the future of retail”.
It’s located opposite the Santa Maria Novella train station in the Italian city, which is usually a tourist magnet. And while visitor traffic might be low at present, it should regain that status later this year if the pandemic can be kept under control.
The store features “intensive use of sustainable materials and state-of-the-art, energy-saving technologies” and Benetton sees it as “a real trailblazer for a revolutionary approach to low-environmental-impact retail”.
It’s “the result of an intensive research and innovation effort” and 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”.
And CEO Massimo Renon emphasised that the firm sees it as “unique”.
So what does it actually comprise? The 160 sq m, single-storey 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). Meanwhile the walls are treated with a mineral paint with antibacterial and anti-mould properties “that can also reduce pollutants in the environment”.
Interiors are made with new materials created from textile industry scrap. That includes perimeter platforms and bases of display units made with a compound created from used buttons — which are difficult to dispose of — mixed in hydro-resin. Recycled wool in its raw wick state is used in the design of the perimeter lining and as decoration for the dressing rooms’ curtains. And shelves, display bases and mannequins are made in ‘rossino’, a material created from upcycled, mixed textile fibres.
Window displays also continue the eco theme. Windows have low-environmental-impact transparent LED screens, which will feature content.
On the energy front, the new location uses 20% less than a standard store with tech to maximise energy use efficiency and also make the store comfortable for shoppers. For instance, sensors automatically adjust store temperature based on the volume of people in the shop.
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