- Associated Press - Sunday, August 26, 2012

MILAN (AP) - French fashion designer Pierre Cardin has designed a gift meant as an economic catalyst for Venice and the region: a 250-meter (800-foot)-tall glass skyscraper housing a fashion university, luxury hotel suites and shops.

But the proposed (EURO)2.4 billion ($3 billion) project faces criticism for the size and appearance of the skyscraper.

The “Palace of Light” has been described alternatively as a spaceship that crashed into the lagoon, a shiny fishing lure, or an illuminated mushroom.

To help win over Venetians, Cardin opens an exhibit on the project Monday on the sidelines of the Venice Biennale of architecture.

Cardin, who turned 90 in July, intends the project to be a gift to his native Veneto, the Italian region he left at age 2 to move to France.