Venice - The Old and The New

image The Old

I just had to share a few examples of the contemporary Architecture in the amazing city of Venice....the city where everyone goes to feast their eyes on antiquity. My visit to Venice was part of a course of study on "Contemporary Italian Architecture". On this visit I had a chance to see a slightly different view of Venice.

The New:

"Casa delle Zattere"

The building below "Casa delle Zattere" was designed in 1953 by architect Ignazio Gardella. Building a new structure in Venice has always presented a stylistic dilemma; how could one ever hope to design a modern building that was compatible with the prevailing styles.

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Details of windows of the "Casa delle Zattere"

This design might be thought of as a new gothic palace, a modern building rendered with a veneer of subtle gothicising detail. The stone base, the window frames and sills, balustrades, chimneys, doorways and corners are all designed to make reference to 13th century details and ideas. Along the canal, the 6 story high façade is detailed to fit comfortably with buildings to either side. The traditional Palace elements of base, piano nobile, attic, and roof are expressed within the context of a typical medieval Venetian courtyard house. The Architect, Gardella also used traditional Venetian building materials to help this building blend seamlessly into its surroundings. Today the home is occupied by the Cipriani family of the famed Cipriani Hotel.

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Casa delle Zattere as seen from across the canal

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This is a detail of the Casa delle Zattere and the adjoining Medieval church. Notice how the cornice details were carried through from the church to the new building, helping the contemporary structure to seamlessly blend to the ancient structure.

Olivetti Showroom

Below are details of the Olivetti Company showroom store designed by Carlo Scarpa 1957-1958 located in San Marco Plaza 101 . Carlo Scarpa paid great attention to detail, often using several different materials simultaneously. He explored tiny universes, studying the relationships among all the elements involved without losing sight of the project as a whole. This store is a virtual feast for the eyes. I could have spent several more hours there discovering all the details. Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to take pictures, but just happened to snap these from the outside. The store has been sold and is now occupied by an Art Gallery. It is a shame because they haven't done much to preserve the integrity of the original design. But it was still very worthwhile to visit and I found it very inspiring. Olivetti was very good in sponsoring and fostering the arts and were ahead of their time in being innovative.

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Close-up of the hand laid mosaic floor made of Murrine. Murrine are sliced pieces of candle-layered Murano-glass used to make the internal ornamentation of millefiori glass-paperweights."

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Left Window detail in brass Brass / Right Fountain detail

Querini Stampalia Garden

Carlo Scarpa (1906-1978) is an architect whose development draws on deep roots in the Veneto region, and on traditional forms and construction methods. He is the same architect that designed the Olivetti Showroom above. Galleria Querini Stampalia, (1961-1963) is the restoration of the ground-floor of an old Venetian palace with the integration of a garden that is used as a gallery and exhibition space. Again, as in the Olivetti showroom, the attention to detail was outstanding. I was fortunate to visit the garden late on a Sunday afternoon and was the only person there. I had the advantage of being able to view the garden in its entirety unobstructed, and plenty of time to savour the details.

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Venice Day 2 151 The building was a former Palace and this is the entry via Gondola. Scarpa designed the new metal doors.

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Hotel Monaco Renovation

I was very excited to see the new renovation of the Hotel Monaco as there has been some controversy surrounding it. One part of the Hotel remains intact in the traditional decor and the other part, being the entry off the side walkway and the Reception, have a new very glamorous modern look. I found the juxtaposition of the old with the new to be very fresh and well done.

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New mosaic panel and large scale lamps. Notice the beautiful terrazzo floors throughout.

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Left is a large scale new mosaic panel that serves to separate the new covered interior courtyard from the Reception. Right The elevator vestibule was a old Venetian canal scene reproduced on glass and backlit.

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Stair details

Venice Day 2 171 Venice Day 2 170 Suite entry doors. The bronze glass door knob was mounted in the center of the door....very cool.

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Public washrooms featured these Cararra marble sinks. The taps were motion activated. The Italians do bathrooms like no other country. They are employ more energy efficient techniques than are currently found in North America. For example most taps, even in homes are motion sensor operated. Toilets are dual flush- a small flush or a full flush. Lights are motion sensor operated, they turn on when someone enters the room and turn off when you leave. Paper products in bathrooms are kept to a minimum ( no toilet seat covers and no paper towels).

Hotel Bauer

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Left The hotel from the street Right The Hotel from the Canal

Venice Day 2 202 Lobby Chairs covered in Reptile Leather

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Table covered in Ostrich skin

Window Shopping

Emilio Pucci, Missoini, Bottega Veneta, Hermes - they are all there.......

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You can’t mistake a Pucci print, which is iconically Italian. Since the late-1940s, when Italian skier and socialite Marchese Emilio Pucci casually tried his hand at design, the brand has been synonymous with bold, brightly colored graphic patterns with a kaleidoscopic, slightly psychedelic feel. Pucci prints usually appear on clingy, stretchy fabrics, and are widely applied in every category—evening wear, ready-to-wear, swimwear, accessories, shoes and home décor; they have even been featured in the logo of the Apollo 15 space mission and the interior of a Ford Lincoln Continental. Vintage Pucci is highly collectible, but present designer Christian LaCroix’s more current designs—which use prints from the Pucci archive—are also in high-demand.

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Missoni is an Italian fashion house based in Milan. It is famous for its unique knitwear, made from a variety of fabrics in colourful patterns.

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Bottega Veneta is a manufacturer of luxury leather goods, most famous for its Intrecciato line of woven leather. The company is based in the Veneto region of northeast Italy. A family firm founded in 1966, Bottega Veneta was bought by Gucci in 2001.

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image Hermes was showing it's hot, new scarf traveling bag. Bellissimo!!

See other articles on Venice:

The Island of Giudecca

VENICE - Bauer Palladio Hotel & Spa, Giudecca Island, Redentore

Venice - Architecture of the 20th Century

Patricia Gray writes about Interior Design inspirations, emerging trends, and the world of Design. While you're here, subscribe to this feed so you don't miss out.


  1. Wow, Gorgeous post!!! I love those lobby chairs:)

  2. Great post!
    I have never been in Italy, I grew up in Argentina in a Italian family and I used to think it is enough Italian things for me,but these days I am trying to reconcile with the Italian in me. So your post is just for me!

  3. What an incredible post! Just more reasons I need to get to Venice pronto!

  4. Hi Simply Groove

    Hi Karina
    You should really visit Italy, especially because of your background.

    Hi BYC
    Go..Pronto. You will love it.

  5. Oh so many beautiful things! I love the gardens and I love the hotel with the plantings that softened the lines of the building. Thanks for sharing such wonderful finds!

  6. love the mix of history and now...the glass elevator lobby with historical art refrences is so perfect for today!

    I think it was in ID mag...Fabrizio Novembre??? was ID? Were there portraits on some of the room doors?

    you have some great pics :)

  7. Patricia,

    I love how your posts seem to take us with you on your trip. Love the decadent hotels, gorgeos boutiques and the amazing architecture! Italy is such an amazing place!

    Karen :)

  8. Today's post is absolutely about the very special Italian way of putting it all together in harmony, it´s brilliant...and Hermès is always Hermès, being French...yes I know.
    Complimenti from Ingela

  9. I love your blog Patricia! I actually got a picture of the sink with the green leaf in it for my backdrop on my screen! If you ever need an intern I am only two continents away :)

  10. Hi Michelle
    No there weren't pictures on the doors. Are you referring to Interior Design (ID)magazine?

    Thanks Neutral Dwelling

    Hi Alkemie
    Thanks for your comment, and yes Italy is amazing.

    Hi Ingela
    I hesitated in putting in the picture of the Hermes window because it wasn't Italian, but I had to include it because I stood in front of that window display and drooled it was so beautiful. You French are very Chic!!

  11. Anonymous30/8/08

    Cara Paricia,

    I was so happy to find your blog. Such a treat! The Scarpa garden,
    though small, is one the tourists often miss. It really is special. Lovely pictures, by the way. You seem to share my interest in contemporary design/designer vintage from the early 1900s into present time. I also have a passion for the Italian maestri. I have my heart in Umbria, an expat from Sweden.
    Bacione, Ingrid

  12. Hi Ingrid
    Thanks for visiting from Umbria. And you're right the fabulous Scarpa garden is often missed. It is one of those rare treats in Venice.

  13. Hi Natasha
    I just went to your blog and saw the my picture taken at my room in The Hotel Gray in Milan. It makes a nice header!

  14. haven't been to Venice for years, so it was great to see your lovely photos, especially like the doors!

  15. Anonymous5/9/08

    Your blog is so interesting!

  16. Hi Redgate Studios
    Thanks for visiting from Australia!

  17. Hi Melleanterieur
    I love the music on your Blog!!

  18. Anonymous6/9/08

    I spent a semester in Venice when I was in architecture school and Querini Stampalia was one of my favorite spaces. Thank you so much for refreshing my memory - it was so wonderful to see your pictures.

    BTW, I was really lucky; my professor and his family owned Palladio's Villa Rotunda and a Palazzo on the Grand Canal. He had known Scarpa and was the best tour guide of Venice and the Veneto in the world.

  19. Hi Becky
    It is so nice to hear from someone else that has been to Querini Stampalia and who appreciates it. What a wonderful education you had on-site in Venice. Thanks for sharing this information.

  20. Patricia,

    Thanks for bringing us the architecture of Venice! I studied it in design school and love everything about it! Wonderful blog!


  21. WOW... really must stop posting such gorgeous photos... I could sit on your site all day long and paint... these Italy pictures kill me! You've captured such beauty!
    FABULOUS... Enjoy your day! Fifi

  22. Anonymous12/9/08

    Stayed at the Hotel Bauer last year when I was at the Venice Film Festival, so gorgeous. Did you have a drink in St Marks Square ? It was completely flooded (as usual) when we were there. But it was business as usual, the locals were just sitting at tables, trousers rolled up, sipping prosecco.

    Just new to the blogging world but have read yours for ages and its always lovely.

  23. Fantastic photo's! Thanks for the get-a-way! Now I just need a plane ticket and some free time.

  24. Anonymous6/10/08

    I will try and get a lobby chair if i can, have to get some other stuff first.
    All the best

  25. Anonymous26/12/08

    Great post!
    I have never been in Italy Thanks
    I love how your posts seem to take us with you on your trip

  26. Anonymous29/12/08

    I love the Hermes scarf bag

  27. Anonymous29/12/08

    Those lobby chairs rock.

  28. Anonymous29/12/08

    I would love to visit Venice. Thanks for the photo tour.

  29. Patricia, So much to take in so little time. Thank goodness for photos and digitial at that.

    It gives us a chance to revisit at a moments notice. Be inspired during a design block. Also to see what we missed at first glance!

    Thanks for sharing so much with so many we love it.


  30. hey nice photographs,wonderful place to visit. I would love to visit Venice.I have never been in Italy but like to visit after seeing your post. Great post. Thanks


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