Architectural Digest (UAE)
Peter Marino’s striking Second Firing collection for Rubelli was inspired by a visionary 19th-century ceramist
There are those who work for the present, and those who work for the future
Peter Marino first visited Venice many years ago, when he was involved in the renovation of a historic building on the Grand Canal. Water, light, parties in elegant homes: Marino fell in love instantly. Now the American architect says with affection: “What a bizarre city is it that has water instead of roads on which you can ride a motorcycle?” In his usual biker garb, with leather and tattoos from head to toe, Marino is at the historic palazzo, Ca ‘Pisani Rubelli, in Venice, surrounded by the fabrics he has created with the historic brand.
“The collection was born in the pandemic, through Zoom and thanks to Fedex, which brought me the samples,” he continues, “and I must say that the team was very good at understanding what I wanted.” For his part, he had instructed Rubelli’s artisans to equip themselves with books on 19th-century art (more of which later).
The man behind the look of Chanel, Dior and Louis Vuitton stores, Marino is a graduate of Cornell University and founded his Peter Marino Architect studio, in New York, in 1978. In the same year, Andy Warhol hired him to create the third incarnation of his Factory, and the commissions snowballed.
Now, Marino is launching his second capsule collection for Rubelli. With the first, Peter Marino for Venetian Heritage (part of the proceeds are donated to the charity of which he is president), he wanted to recreate the impression of the lagoon water (“the light in the canals drives me crazy with joy”). The new range, Second Firing, is dripping with pictorial effects in vivid colours, and has perhaps a more intimate genesis; the architect was writing a book dedicated to the French artist-ceramist Adrien Dalpayrat, whose work he voraciously collects when he began to design fabrics. Dalpayrat is known for his innovative glazes and, in particular, for having invented an oxblood red variant.
“Although he was active in the late 19th century, the abstract shapes and combinations of different layers of enamel still look modern today,” Marino comments. “After all, there are those who work for the present time, and those who work for the future.” The architect is proud of his museum-worthy collection of ceramics and his intuitive understanding for this medium – thanks to his friend Alice Stern: “Ceramic works have often been dismissed as provincial junk. I find that it is an art that is capable of capturing the spirit of the time in which it was produced.”
In the Second Firing collection, Marino evokes the typical flames of Dalpayrat vases and his ‘cascades with amazing colours’ through complex interweaving of warp and weft threads. But since he also wanted an exquisitely Italian touch in the collection, he came up with a singular mix: “Certain colours that I have not found in Dalpayrat come from Veronese, the ultimate colourist.”
In designing the collection, Marino did not look at trends, but tried to transform it into something that would satisfy him on a personal level, so that these textiles could become ingredients of his daily work as a decorator. “At the moment, I particularly like drawings in large-scale; I believe it is a consequence of the pandemic that has ‘shrunk’ us, closed in our homes. We need to breathe again.”