ITALY. The new Non-Schengen Pier E at Rome Fiumicino Airport sets a new benchmark for retail design in the European airport market, according to Aeroporti di Roma (AdR).

As we reported yesterday, this week saw the opening of the 90,000sq m pier in Terminal 3, which will serve an additional six million passengers a year.

In this dynamic contemporary setting, writes John Matheson, the enhanced retail offer features an Aelia Duty Free walkthrough store (1,850sq m), which is accessed by all travellers. This leads to a twin-level retail zone themed ‘Made in Italy’, with a strong emphasis on leading Italian fashion brands and local F&B brands.


Light and height: The spectacular new commercial arena at Rome Fiumicino Pier E

The new Area E comprises bussing lounges at apron level with luxury retail at departure level and food & beverage concentrated on the mezzanine level.  Travellers walk the length of the two-level galleries before exiting to the piers, which include 22 new gates. Through a design that seeks to link retail and F&B, the mezzanine has cafés, restaurants and bars that overlook the apron as well as the ‘street’ below.


The flavours and colours of Italy are at the heart of the development

Aeroporti di Roma Executive Vice President Commercial Fulvio Fassone said: “Our ambition was to create an excellent expression of Italian fashion and food & beverage for the customer. Inside this beautiful infrastructure we have realised a dream. I think that, in terms of not only Italian airports but also across Europe, this is one of the best retail airport experiences.  We are very proud of what we have achieved here.  It has been a very long project but the end result is really fantastic.

“The Sense of Place and space is remarkable.  A major issue for us was to create an exceptional experience in terms of the quality of the environment and to give travellers the best possible way to pass their time in the terminal. I think we have created a fantastic offer – the blend of retail and food & beverage is amazing and we searched out the very best of Italian products and luxury brands to offer travellers a true taste of all that is great about Italy.”


A stunning view of the split-level pier, with luxury retail at departure level and food & beverage on the mezzanine level

London-based airport retail design specialist The Design Solution was responsible for all commercial planning and interior design up to scheme design stage. It supported AdR and SPEA Engineering and worked closely with local architect Studio Muzzi, which then took the development to completion.


The striking new Aelia Duty Free store is a core component of the project


The fashion boulevard houses great Italian and international names (above and below)


The Design Solution Managing Director Robbie Gill explained the evolution of the development: “The basic layout of the Area E space is deceptively simple but effective, with travellers entering at one end and leaving at the other, ensuring that they are exposed to the full offer.

“The passenger takes a flowing route through the commercial area, punctuated by seating, in a classic piece of airport planning with every passenger exposed to every retail unit. Crucially, we also ensure great visibility to the main F&B areas on the mezzanine level on their journey, maintaining the cohesion of retail and F&B across both floors.

“There is a major emphasis on light and space, including the dramatic flooding of natural light from the huge windows and the extraordinary drama of the roof, which is especially strong at the mezzanine level and creates powerful visual links to the airport apron. The design is bold and contemporary but retains clear connections to its roots in the selection of classic materials, the form of the architecture and the cultural references to the city of Rome.”


“Inside this beautiful infrastructure we have realised a dream,” says Fulvio Fassone

Gill also highlighted the strong partnership approach that underpinned the Terminal 3 development: “The vision we see today was only achieved through AdR’s commitment to changing an expansion project into a stunning stand-alone commercial opportunity.”

He added: This ten-year project benefited from the architectural vision of Furio Giovannoni, Architectural and Functional Studies Area Manager at SPEA Engineering, the specialist design input of The Design Solution and AdR’s commercial ambition.

“AdR drew together a progressive team of people to deliver this ambitious scheme, including AdR Head of Retail Development Francesco Lancia and Head of Specialist Retail Lisa Latini. Their fantastic commercial flair has resulted in one of the best line-ups of Italian brands you’ll find in any retail environment.

“We are very proud to have worked with AdR and all its partners on this remarkable development. This is a classic example of how a passionate client and a passionate consultant results in something that I hope reflects the passion of one of the greatest countries in the world, Italy.”


E is for excellence: AdR hails the upgraded quality of the experience for travellers


F&B to the fore: The best of Italy is showcased at the new facility