Guild Living, founded in London in 2019, takes a completely new look at ageing and later life. Guild believes that older age is a time of life that we should all live to the full; a time of independence, happiness and fulfilment. This is the vision that, as Guild Living co-founder, Eugene Marchese has helped to deliver – first in the UK, and now also in Italy. Behind him a is remarkable story: a double degree, numerous international awards, his Italian-Australian origins and – above all – his passion for improving people’s ‘third age’, which inspired him to create Guild Living. We spoke to him to find out more…
Why, after founding Guild Living in the UK, have you decided to open more Guild Living communities in Italy?
Italy is a country that is a part of me. For over 30 years I have spent the summer holidays in Lucca, surrounded by family and friends. These are people who I have seen grow older with the passage of time. This time of life was particularly difficult for my grandparents, who emigrated from Italy to Australia, and who had to deal with the onset of dementia and the difficulties associated with it. For this reason, after completing a degree in architecture, I chose to take a second degree – looking into the issues surrounding the disease, and how it impacts people’s lives. Through my studies, it has been possible for me to build projects that are tailored to properly supporting those in later life; through finding innovative solutions to bring them back into the community, and facilitating a healthy and active independence.
What makes the Guild Living way of life special?
Our projects are unique, based right in the heart of the communities where they are located. At the same time, we are creating desirable places where people truly want to live. These are places for all: for Sunday lunches with your children and grandchildren, meeting old or new friends in the café or bar, or simply relaxing by the pool. The key to it all? Flexibility. We start by understanding the wishes of our customers, to design and build housing solutions they will fall in love with, and feel truly at home in.
The second point of our projects is to support the continued autonomy and independence of residents. We deliver this through our unique combination of global, academic expertise, and bespoke architecture and design – combined with holistic wellness programming. We want residents to discover – and share – new experiences, passions and friendships, and always feel at the centre of everything we do.
From a design perspective, what is the main focus of these new communities?
Without a doubt, the central piazza. This is a reference to the agora of ancient Greece, which were the cultural and civic hub of the community. What makes them even more unique, are the communities’ openness to the world – new, sustainable environments in which to stay connected with loved ones. I believe that the secret to a healthier, more active and independent life is to remain an central part of the community. This is why our centres are immersed in the vibrancy of life, aiming to support the physical, emotional and cognitive wellbeing of each resident.
And in the future?
I can’t wait to see the first Guild Living Italian communities open, because I am convinced that they will make a huge difference to people’s lives, guaranteeing personalised on-site assistance that can achieve that autonomous and active lifestyle. At the same time, we are constantly looking at new locations and communities, so we can continue to have a positive impact on even more communities and lives.