Vene­tian de­lights

The city’s rich his­tory meets the ul­ti­mate in mod­ern ele­gance in this ex­quis­ite Venice apart­ment

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - News - Words HAN­NAH BOOTH Pho­tog­ra­phy CAROLA RIPAMONTI

In this ex­quis­ite Venice apart­ment, the city’s rich his­tory meets the ul­ti­mate in con­tem­po­rary style

‘For the metal frame we chose a Vene­tian red, as favoured by the Re­nais­sance pain­ters. It’s quite com­mon in lo­cal ar­chi­tec­ture’

Walls the colour of Venice’s canals, Mu­rano glass lamps and ac­cents of brass are just a few of the jew­els in this lux­u­ri­ous, highly con­tem­po­rary apart­ment, lo­cated in a 19th-cen­tury prop­erty over­look­ing a nar­row canal in Sestiere San Marco. A for­mer of­fice, the listed build­ing had very few orig­i­nal fea­tures re­main­ing when its re­design be­gan, the ex­cep­tion be­ing its or­nate par­quet floor­ing. This gave ar­chi­tects An­drea Mar­cante and Ade­laide Testa vir­tu­ally free creative rein.

In­side, the apart­ment is eclec­tic and deca­dent: the pair com­bined mid-cen­tury and mod­ern-day pieces with strong nods to the work of the Mem­phis Group, 1970s de­sign and Art Deco. Lux­u­ri­ous pieces – from a vel­vet up­hol­stered bench by An­other Coun­try to brass kitchen cab­i­nets – com­bine with rain­bow-coloured fur­ni­ture, in­clud­ing Finn Juhl’s 1950s side­board and Pa­tri­cia Urquiola’s ‘Shim­mer’ cof­fee ta­ble for Glas Italia. ‘Ital­ian de­sign is smart and el­e­gant, but also fun,’ says An­drea.

An en­trance area with a black wooden floor leads to the liv­ing room, its door­way sur­rounded by a bright crim­son metal frame that snakes through­out the apart­ment vis­ually connecting its rooms. ‘ We chose a strong, Vene­tian red, as favoured by the Re­nais­sance pain­ters,’ says An­drea. ‘It’s quite com­mon in lo­cal ar­chi­tec­ture.’

The two bed­rooms fea­ture bed­spreads made from Rubelli fab­rics that mir­ror the tra­di­tional Vene­tian flecked ter­razzo floors and the graphic de­tails of the apart­ment’s crim­son frame­work. In the liv­ing room, by way of con­trast, an el­e­gant brass struc­ture frames the fen­es­tra­tion. ‘ Win­dows are tra­di­tion­ally quite small in Vene­tian homes and, as this is a listed build­ing, there was lit­tle we could do about it,’ says An­drea. ‘The brass frame en­larges them, and en­hances their re­la­tion­ship with the cityscape.’ Sim­i­larly, Mu­rano glass lamps in var­i­ous colours have been used to reflect the light that shim­mers across the canals at twi­light.

An­drea and Ade­laide have worked their magic on the en­tire build­ing, in­clud­ing the com­mu­nal stair­well, which now cre­ates a strik­ing first im­pres­sion. The grey walls are painted with lin­ear de­signs, a mod­ern ver­sion of the ar­chi­trave that would have once adorned the space. A seat­ing area, which over­looks gon­do­las pass­ing by on the canal, sits be­neath an ex­tra­or­di­nary dou­ble-height wall ren­dered in burnt si­enna, with curved, sculp­tured bois­erie in eu­ca­lyp­tus wood. An­drea de­scribes it as a ‘smoker’s cor­ner’. ‘It’s a big hall­way, so we asked our­selves how we could make the best use of it and in­cor­po­rate the amaz­ing view,’ says An­drea. ‘It’s rare to find such a con­tem­po­rary in­te­rior in Venice. We have tried to cre­ate a new re­la­tion­ship with the city for the home­own­ers – one that meets their needs, but still re­flects its his­tory and cul­ture.’ mar­cante-testa.it; uda.it

Op­po­site A burnt-si­enna wall with curved eu­ca­lyp­tus-wood bois­erie tow­ers over a pair of ‘618’ chairs by Carlo Scarpa and cork side ta­bles from Vitra in the com­mu­nal hall­way Left The colours and cul­ture of the city have all in­flu­enced the de­sign of this...

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