Generali reopens the historic Palazzo Berlam in
Trieste, the new Group Academy headquarters

11 October 2019 - 15:00

Trieste – Generali has reopened Palazzo Berlam to the public in Trieste, following a complete renovation according to the design of architect and designer Mario Bellini, winner of an international competition. The building will be home to the Generali Group Academy, the Group’s new global training centre.

Built between 1926 and 1928 based on the design of Arduino Berlam, the building is one of the best examples of twentieth century modernist architecture in Trieste. With the conclusion of significant restructuring work started in 2015, Palazzo Berlam will now be home to Generali Group Academy, the Group’s international training centre: a world-class school created to support Generali in the management of social and global transformation processes, building and strengthening new leadership positions, facilitating career paths through skills development, and contributing to attracting, developing and retaining talent. As well as training activities, Palazzo Berlam will also house Generali’s historic archive, an auditorium and events space. 

The interior design of the property as well was entrusted to the architect and designer Mario Bellini. The floors housing Generali Group Academy comprise flexible and configurable training spaces using movable partition walls, and are equipped with the latest generation communication and collaboration tools. All the spaces have been organised according to the “Smart Workspace” guidelines that characterise Generali’s offices around the world.

Situated between two historic offices of Assicurazioni Generali, Palazzo Carciotti and Palazzo Geiringer, this historic building was acquired by the Company in 1932 as an office building. The restructuring works were carried out on the entire body of the building, inside and out, with particular attention to restoring the original architectural details. 

The Chairman of Generali, Gabriele Galateri di Genola, stated: “The transformation and restoration of Palazzo Berlam is an important example of renovation of one of the city’s iconic buildings, loved and recognised by its inhabitants. By strengthening a close link with its history, the Group's global presence can be seen today in the choice of this wonderful building as Generali’s international training centre. This will be a place of training for the men and women of our Group who will have the task of continuing, in the years to come, the mission of a global player in an increasingly dynamic and challenging environment.” 

The architect and designer Mario Bellini commented: “Four years of work in a city that is very dear to me; three strong features of our design, which kept the exterior of this listed building unchanged: the large “light prism”, the “magic mirrors”, invented by us, and the transformation of the terraces into a Belvedere. Three choices that have contributed to making the structure itself a “building of light”; natural light and therefore in line with environmental protection principles. This was also achieved thanks to the fact that this building has the intrinsic characteristics in its DNA to take on a new role: the courage to dare and innovate; curiosity for historical international experimentation; and research into the unconventional languages of the artistic avant-garde of the time.”

Aldo Mazzocco, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of Generali Real Estate, stated: “Exactly three hundred years on from the establishment of the Free Port of Trieste, the sea port of the then Austrian empire, we are reopening Palazzo Berlam to business and insurance activities, with our Academy as well as shared spaces which will restore its place at the centre of Generali Group’s operations. Every time we invest in buildings of this importance in beautiful cities such as Trieste, we are sure of creating lasting value for future generations and our clients.” 

The reopening of Palazzo Berlam to the city is at the heart of the initiatives for the 51st edition of the “Barcolana” Autumn Cup sailing regatta in Trieste, the largest regatta in the world, for which Generali has been the presenting partner and main sponsor for more than 40 years. To mark the reopening of the renovated spaces on Trieste’s sea front, Generali is staging a public event: the Barcolana “Generali Sea Talk”. A special event where sailing is a metaphor for the relationship between man and environment, featuring the two sailors Dee Caffari and Vicky Song.

Palazzo Berlam spaces

The restoration of this striking building built between 1926 and 1928 and designed by the architect Arduino Berlam, alongside architect Carlo Polli, involved a detailed study of its history in the exceptional socio-cultural context that shaped its design. The original design explicitly cited the “new red brick skyscrapers of New York” and the most avant-garde architectural styles of the time, such as the Wiener Secession and Nordic Expressionism.
The renovation works have restored the original charm of this iconic building to the city of Trieste. The building is spread over 9 floors above ground level, with a floor area of around 5,500 m2.
The interior design of the property was entrusted to the renowned architect and designer from Milan, Mario Bellini, following an international competition, to Studio Cervesi for the technological engineering aspects and executed by Rizzani de Eccher general construction contractor. Among the main features of the design are the Auditorium, an events space and three floors of offices. The Group Academy spaces on the fifth and sixth floors are bright with open views of the sea front thanks to the use of mirrored windows known as “magic mirrors”. Of particular importance is the work carried out at the top of the building: the two terraces on the seventh floor have been transformed into a spectacular Belvedere, from which it is possible to enjoy a 360° view of the sea and surrounding area.
In the last few days, the Lion of St. Mark was installed on the building’s central tower, completing the upward momentum of the building, also reinterpreted by the architect Mario Bellini.
The floors housing the Group Academy environments comprise flexible and configurable training spaces using movable partition walls, and are equipped with the latest generation communication and collaboration tools.
The work followed Generali’s guidelines for “Smart Workspaces”, applied to the Generali Tower in Milan, and used worldwide to develop its office spaces: meeting rooms with stateof- the-art technology, collaborative spaces and meeting points on all floors, kitchenettes and water dispensers.
The restructuring work also involved seismic upgrading and energy efficiency measures, in line with the objectives set by the Group to reduce environmental impacts.