Postvenezianità (Post-Venetian) is the name given to the concept behind The Venice Venice Hotel project in Venice, one of the entrepreneurial activities of Alessandro and Francesca Gallo, famous for having founded the Golden Goose fashion brand over twenty years ago. The project’s various aspects combine to create a "Manifesto of Postvenezianità" which boldly, but uncritically, determines to move on from Venice's anchorage to the past by enhancing and emphasising the avant-garde role the city has played over the centuries. The symbol chosen for the project is a rose, a tribute to beauty and a hymn to eternal love and unbroken promises. A rose that seems to be melting and falling apart.
The Venice Venice Hotel is the result of a courageous restoration of Ca' da Mosto, a palazzo boasting over a thousand years of history. The first palace to be built on the banks of the Grand Canal, the building was certified as a hotel as early as the 1700s. It is the oldest stone palace in Venice and an authentic example of the Venetian-Byzantine style façade present in the city.
The project, entrusted to an internal team called New Work City (NWC), led by Alessandro Gallo himself and supported by Alessandro Pedron's APML studio, includes spaces for various functions, like retail, exhibition and catering. There are also 44 rooms that are all so unique in terms of size (ranging from 25 to 200 m2), height and range of views, they were treated as 44 separate projects.
Of particular note is the attention and respect paid to the vestiges of the past, which have been incorporated in the project through a skilful use of different and precious materials. This has included recovering the ancient original floors and wooden beams. Bricks, Istrian stone, fabrics and tapestries, cipolin marble and trachyte have also been used, and unprecedented contemporary objects have been designed specifically to show the marks of time yet to come. Each material therefore becomes part of a continuous flow of life that inevitably leads to wear.
As far as the lighting design is concerned, there is a clear focus on façades, fixtures and views. The entire system has been guided by sensitivity and attention to detail, with the aim of achieving a continuous balance between natural light, general lighting and decorative lighting.
The artificial lighting has a discreet impact that allows the natural light that penetrates the hotel premises to be enhanced and emphasized.
Right from the start, the intention of the architect and internal team was to make the general artificial lighting "disappear", by ensuring its presence is minimal and in harmony with the context. This is why completely neutral, almost invisible luminaires have been selected. The project specifically required that the lamps should not be seen.
In the completely new parts of the project, most of the luminaires have been recessed into the plasterboard false ceilings. Whereas, in the spaces where this was not permitted, due to the presence of precious, decorated ceilings that needed to be conserved, external elements and spotlights have been installed.
A diametrically opposite approach was chosen for the decorative lighting systems, to ensure they are perceived as a deliberate presence with original, specifically designed forms.
iGuzzini has helped create the lit atmosphere by providing luminaires that are ideal for each individual application. Each fixture, in fact, is in some way, a custom product.
Basically, there are two types of luminaire used: Laser Blade and Palco mini LV. Another light source, the so-called "Digital Candle" has also been designed and subsequently adapted for various fixtures. This includes positioning it on simple metal plates, inserting it inside blown glass with constantly changing shapes, and using it as a table lamp with fabric lampshades, or simply as a light source for table or floor-based luminaires.
The chosen colour temperature of 2700 K is reminiscent of candle flames, fires and torchlight. The idea was to recreate the light of an ancient monastery. The lighting levels are around 100 lux main (in some programmed scenarios the levels are even lower).
The Venice M'Art space on the ground floor of the ancient palazzo interacts in a clear and significant way with the city. This area, which is a café, restaurant and concept store, all in one, offers the Cannaregio district a new meeting place and a post-Venetian emporium in the sotoportego of the Ca' da Mosto ferry.
The space features a Superrail track with Palco ⌀ 19 mm and Laser Blade luminaires that create an extremely soft light that is modulated as needed. In the store, for example, the luminaires guarantee excellent vertical lighting for the walls on which sales items are displayed.
The entrance hall, directly overlooking the Grand Canal, has been designed as a tribute to Carlo Scarpa. Here, there is also a sculpture by Fabio Viale, that reinvents the Pietà by separating and distancing the Madonna and Christ, all illuminated with a museum-like precision.
The same attention and approach can be found in other locations too. In the hotel, inside the rooms as well as in the communal areas, there are numerous works of art, like Francesco Simeti’s wonderful tapestry on the walls of the bar on the first floor, the works of Pol Polloniato and Igor Mitoraj, and photographs by Renato D'Agostin. Entire areas have been dedicated to art movements like Fluxus and Visual Poetry. While others host and represent Arte Povera with the works of Jannis Kounellis, Zorio, Fabro and Boetti; Conceptual Art with a large installation by Hanne Darboven; and radical architecture, from Superstudio to Gruppo 9999. One room (R22) is dedicated to the Cycle of Hands by the Austrian artist Arnulf Rainer.
The rooms are the locations in which the special product, developed by iGuzzini in line with the instructions of the architect Pedron and Alessandro Gallo, is most evident.
This features a 1W LED positioned inside a small brass lamp body that has subsequently been adapted in various ways to meet the lighting requirements of any space whatsoever in the hotel.
Being in Venice inevitably implies the frequent use of Murano glass, brass lampshades and the wonderfully historic Fortuny lampshade.
On the upper floors, in addition to the rooms, there are several communal areas, like the two striking double-height lounges and the Bitter Bar, specifically designed to offer maximum flexibility of use. For these spaces, iGuzzini has devised a "mesh" distribution of luminaires to meet the client’s specific requests. The system adapts readily to any single and specific use, and is particularly effective in irregular environments with different heights, mezzanine floors and customised furnishings.
The same respectful and non-invasive approach has been applied to the external lighting system too. The light is neither grazing nor projected, but evokes and develops the glimmer of light coming from the candle-like lighting inside the rooms obtained by positioning a small aluminium profile with the 1W LED on the window frame of the façade overlooking the Grand Canal.
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