Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 30 n°108

‘The buildings talk to me. Every one has something to say’

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 11 luglio 2017

venice1veniceThe Rubelli family firm has been producing fabrics in Venice for generations. But, as Nicolò Rubelli, its director, explains, the company is just as focused on the future. Jonathan Bastaple went to meet him. Venice is a city of textures and surfaces: the façades hang like faded brocade curtains above the smooth edged docks and portals. The architectural patterns are fascinating — not just the quatrefoil windows and the rhythmic verticals of slender arches, but also the accidental abstractions, where pink plaster has been stained by salt water or fallen away to reveal rough red brickwork, or patch upon patch of repair has left an ancient frontage looking dappled and skewbald like the flank of a pinto horse. And then there is the green and mutable water, which shimmers like a bolt of raw silk rolled out on a narrow table.Rubelli is speaking about his fragile hometown as he makes his way through narrow early-morning streets, across deserted little squares, over tiny humpbacked bridges. He is a collector of maps, specifically old maps of Venice, but he also carries a layered cartographical history of the city in his head.
‘The buildings talk to me,’ he says. ‘Every one of them has something to say.’ He pauses at the ornate Chiesa di San Moisè. ‘Look at that: a baroque church covered in sculptures, but not a single religious symbol. Everything on that façade is a monument to the Fini family who built it, a declaration of their wealth and influence. It’s not a church at all, it’s a triumphal arch masquerading as a church.’
The dawn walk comes to a very Venetian dead end at a square quayside on the Grand Canal. There’s no way to go further without climbing into a water taxi. But Rubelli produces a key from his pocket and goes to an unobtrusive door in the gable end of a building to one side. It leads into a magnificent Renaissance vestibule — low-lying, dark and reeking of history. This is the ground floor of the Palazzo Corner Spinelli, the Venice HQ of Rubelli when Nicolò’s father was in charge. It is now a rather wonderful corporate pied-à-terre.
‘This is like my second home,’ says Nicolò, as he heads up the broad staircase to the office. It is a fabulous set of rooms: coffered ceilings, another disguised triumphal arch in the form of an enormous fireplace by Jacopo Sansovino, a deep light well in which classical busts perch on niches like cormorants on a cliff face. (foto: venice) (by Christie’s)


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