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Migliore+Servetto conceives the Interior Design for the new Bookstore of The Human Safety Net Foundation within the Procuratie Vecchie in Saint Mark’s Square in Venice

Project name:
The new Bookstore of The Human Safety Net Foundation within the Procuratie Vecchie in Saint Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy
Architecture firm:
Saint Mark's Square, Venice, Italy
Courtesy of Migliore+Servetto
Principal architect:
Ico Migliore, Mara Servetto
Design team:
Interior design:
Built area:
14 m²
Site area:
14 m²
Design year:
Completion year:
Civil engineer:
Structural engineer:
Environmental & MEP:
Tools used:
The Human Safety Net Foundation, Generali Group
Commercial › Book Store

Migliore+Servetto, which is internationally recognised for its excellence in the field of Exhibition Design and the design of communication spaces, has conceptualised a new interior design project for The Human Safety Net, the Generali Group foundation headquartered in Venice within the historical building of Procuratie Vecchie in Saint Mark’s Square.

Within an intimate space spanning 14 square metres directly overlooking Saint Mark’s Square, the project defines a strong, identity-forming and narrative image for the new bookstore of The Human Safety Net.

The Home of The Human Safety Net is an open space, a place of work, dialogue, discovery and experience. Its interiors, the exhibition “A World of Potential” and the multimedia design within the third floor, as well as the welcoming spaces on the ground floor of the building, were designed by Migliore+Servetto.

The project is characterised by the light manner with which it relates to both the city of Venice – a symbol of strong cultural identity and hospitality – and the historical building of Procuratie Vecchie that houses it. It is equally focused on inclusion and accessibility, central themes in the development of the project, which also influenced the bookcase with open shelving, for which the bookstore serves as the window display in Saint Mark’s Square.

Embracing the space along the walls, a series of steel bookshelves build up a modular system of shelves and cases with integrated light featuring different dimensions and angulations. Each insert of the bookshelves is mobile and interchangeable to ensure maximum flexibility of the display. Further back, the bookshelves create a 90° angle to host the sales counter, which is also made of wood with red shelves. The furniture is completed by an isle placed in the centre of the store and by a display case in the window.

The extremely light and flexible system of red bookshelves recalls the Foundation’s identity to provide an unambiguous homogeneity to the space. The intervention – which included the replacement of all the pre-existing furniture, the false walls and the suspended ceilings –preserved the original black and brown Venetian flooring, which was renovated for the occasion, as was the window and the historical shutter. The suspended ceilings and false walls were reconstructed in light grey plasterboard, while a natural stone band covers the whole perimeter at height of 50 cm from the ground to counter the effects of the high-water phenomenon.

For the lighting design, the decision was made to illuminate the different areas using with precision Targetti spotlights, which offer flexible planes of light to create different accents for different display by running along ceiling-recessed tracks. On the back wall, a door opening on Corte Maruzzi has been restored and is flanked by a wide luminous wall to light the whole space more broadly. On the left wall, a vertical monitor offers a digital dimension in the space, opening up possibilities for wider communications and narrations.

Outside the foundation’s name and logo stand out within the new signage and also in the graphics placed on the entry door and those located higher up on the window of the mezzanine. These subtle identity-marking signs connect this small space overlooking the square to the Home of The Human Safety Net on the third floor.

The bookstore is open every day from 10:00 to 19:00. For further information see thehumansafetynet.org


Migliore+Servetto, founded in 1997 by IcoMigliore and Mara Servetto, Migliore+Servetto is an Italian design studio based in Milan that has carried out over 800 projects in 21 countries, obtaining prestigious international awards, including 3 Compassod'Oro ADI awards, 13 Red Dot Design Awards (Germany), 2 German Design Awards (Germany), 3 FX Interior Design Awards (United Kingdom) and 2 International Design Awards (USA). The Studio moves between architecture, graphics and design with particular attention to the value of the places' identities, which are always conceived as narrative spaces. In parallel to this, it develops on-going research activities into the use of light and new technologies. Ico Migliore is Professor at the Politecnico di Milano and Chair Professor at Dongseo University in Busan (South Korea), while Mara Servetto is Visiting Professor at Joshibi University in Tokyo. The companies and institutions that have entrusted the Studio with their projects include Max Mara, Tod's, Giorgio Armani, Fila, Intesa Sanpaolo, Lexus, Samsung, Whirlpool, Bombardier, New York Times and Wallpaper*. Interventions for several major cultural destinations in Italy and abroad bear the signature of Migliore+Servetto, such as the Egyptian Museum in Turin, the Miramare Museum in Trieste, the Chopin Museum in Warsaw and the ADI Design Museum in Milan. In terms of urban design, in South Korea M+S conceived the project for the Waterfront Door / Into the Ocean and the Blue Line Park in Busan, which was also awarded the Urban Branding and Tourism Landscape Award 2021 and was selected for the FX International Design Awards (UK) 2021 in the Public Space category. Recently, the Studio designed the interiors of the new headquarters of The Human Safety Net, the humanitarian foundation of the Generali Group, at the ProcuratieVecchie in Piazza San Marco in Venice, and it has just inaugurated the project for the new Electa bookshops inside the Colosseum.

By Naser Nader Ibrahim

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