Via Veneto 119 and 1930s Italy

1933-2015

Themes:

  • Architecture
Document

The BNL headquarters in the centre of Rome, situated between the Trevi Fountain and the Villa Borghese gardens, is an outstanding example of Italian 1930s architecture.

Arturo Osio, General Manager of the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL), was the real force behind the plan to build a new headquarters for the bank. Construction began in 1933, and the building was inaugurated in 1937. The architect, Marcello Piacentini, who is regarded as the father of Constructive Realism, worked on some of the greatest construction projects in Rome, including the restoration of the Opera House and the opening up of Via della Conciliazione to create a new vista towards St Peter’s Basilica

 

  A typical example of 1930s architecture

The plans for the new BNL headquarters were modelled on the newly completed Ministero delle Corporazioni, a huge rectangular building whose strict, clean lines married classical and modernist styles. Piacentini himself made the decisions on the decorative installations, including the lamps in the President’s office which are still on view today. It was also his idea to call upon the fresco artists Achille Funi and Amerigo Bartoli Natinguerra.

This building symbolised the strength and sobriety of a modern bank serving the real economy, and it became the distinctive signature of the BNL. The Via Veneto facade was subsequently repeated on both newly-opened and refurbished branches.

 

   Showcasing art collections

BNL has in its possession a magnificent art collection. Some of its outstanding paintings and other pieces – by Canaletto, Lorenzo Lotto and Jean Baptiste Camille Corot – are exhibited in the Gallery of Honour at the Bank’s headquarters. The Boardroom displays the ‘50 Painters for Rome’ collection commissioned in honour of the Italian capital city between 1946 and 1948 by Cesare Zavattini from renowned artists such as De Chirico, Donghi, Mafai and Guttuso and from other young accomplished artists.

In 2013, to celebrate its one hundredth anniversary, BNL reiterated its strong commitment to arts and culture by holding a photography competition and exhibition of art works entitled ‘The Sea is my Land, Artists from the Mediterranean’, which was open to all artists from countries bordering the Mediterranean.

 

To go further, flip through the brochure “Via Venetto, 119” of the “Landmark Buildings Collection”

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The personal data collected from the Site are subject to data processing by BNP Paribas to enable access to and use of the functionalities offered by the Site www.histoire.bnpparibas.
Pursuant to the French Data Protection Law No. 78-17 of 6 January 1978, you are entitled to access the data collected by BNP Paribas and to have it amended, updated or deleted, where such information is incorrect, incomplete or outdated. You can exercise this right by contacting: BNP Paribas – APAC TDC Val de Marne, TSA 30233- 94729 FONTENAY SOUS BOIS Cedex.

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