Reports  |  10 April 2015

24 Hours in Venice

The beauty of decay

When Italy based bespoke furniture specialists Prima Bespoke invited us to attend a presentation in Venice we were obviously very excited. We immediately thought of Gondolas, commedia dell’Arte, beautiful Murano glass and stunning architecture. But we were surprised to discover another facet to this historical city. Subtle but profuse, this side of Venice inspired us and made us reflect on the city’s story.

Our day started beautifully. Our faces warmed by the sun, we took a boat directly from the airport to our hotel. As the boat docked in front of the hotel entrance, We suddenly realised that we had just experienced something unique… When do we ever get a boat as public transport, and especially at an airport?

We stayed at the Orologio Hotel. Right on the waterfront, this newly opened hotel is named ‘watch’ after the owner’s passion for watches. Wine coloured marble walls, darkened timber floors, and muted lighting create a unique feel of Italian sophistication throughout the hotel. The retro looking furniture, some of which produced by Prima Bespoke is well thought through. The hotel was also the location for the insightful presentation and Michelin star dinner Prima Bespoke had organised for us later that day.

Having a few hours spare we took the opportunity to explore the city. Our afternoon stroll through the narrow streets made us discover a unique side to Venice. The architecture is simply spectacular, the craftsmanship is world class but in contrast to the main sites most buildings look tired and deteriorated. The unruly peel of the wall renders lets the traditional red brick be exposed, the bottom of buildings has been weathered by recurrent flooding leaving behind a green layer of algae, the metal shutters are rusty and timber doors bow through humidity. This would be terrible anywhere else, but we realised that it is just part of the Venetian charm.

Venice was surprising us, we were enjoying it’s raw, honest look. We liked the way decay creates rich textures and colours on every street corner. So whilst hoards of tourists brushed past us to see the sites, we spent time taking pictures of anonymous walls and doors for future mood boards or colour palettes. We understood that remaining bits of render and exposed structures unwillingly create an array of shapes and surfaces in which we can find beauty and inspiration.

To finish the day we took a gondola around town, as the sun started to descend, the city took a whole different look. The pastel and neutral tones of the buildings, the pink hues of terracotta and the green of the water mixed in with the sunset light created a distinct glow. All of this made us forget about our fascination for the aged brick, the eroded doors, and the gradients of algae residue and what we saw before our eyes was one simply mesmerising scenery.

So if you plan to visit Venice, make sure to wonder, get lost and take in all the city’s beautiful imperfections.