Skyscraper plan 'would turn Venice into Dubai'
VENICE is sharply divided over plans by Pierre Cardin, the fashion magnate, to build a futuristic, Dubai-style skyscraper which critics say will impinge on the city's historic skyline of cupolas, bell towers and church spires.
The 90-year-old designer, who emigrated to France from the Veneto region as a young man, wants to build the 800ft-tall, €1.5bn Palais de Lumiere or Palace of Light tower in Porto Marghera, a blighted former industrial zone a few miles from central Venice.
Opponents say its height and unusual design -- three shard-like towers connected by six interlocking, horizontal discs -- will make it visible from the heart of the World Heritage-listed lagoon city.
The 60-storey, glass and steel building will be double the height of the bell tower in St Mark's Square, the symbol of Venice, and critics say it is more suited to the Emirates than La Serenissima, as the city is known.
But the project will provide jobs for thousands of people in Porto Marghera, a former industrial area which has been badly hit by the closure of chemical plants and oil refineries.
Mr Cardin, whose wealth is estimated at more than €300m, designed the tower with his architect nephew, Rodrigo Basilicati. He recently said it would be his "last great project".
The skyscraper will have a helicopter landing pad, apartments, restaurants, nearly 60 lifts and a cinema complex.
Mr Cardin, who is due to lay the first symbolic stone in September, is reportedly becoming impatient with the delays and has said that if Venetians cannot sort out their disagreements, he will take his vision elsewhere, perhaps to China or Dubai. (© Daily Telegraph, London)