CARLO SCARPA: The Casa Pelizzari, Venice
Carlo Scarpa occupies a commanding position in the narrative of modern Italian design. Venetian-born, Scarpa’s childhood was one that was exposed to the historical layers that defined Venice as the mercantile portal between East and West, a city where the relics of Antiquity cast deep metaphorical shadows upon the bustle of tradition, craft and art. Trained as an architect, Scarpa’s brilliance as a designer of glass, from 1926 until 1947, is well-documented and has been recently celebrated by major retrospectives at the Stanze del Vetro, Venice, 2012, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2013-2014. Equally well-documented is Scarpa’s successful, innovative and highly influential post-war career as an architect.
The following unique collection of furnishings, designed for a private apartment, was created at a pivotal moment shortly before Scarpa terminated his working relationship with Venini to instead concentrate on his practice as an architect. This remarkable collection exhibits a sense of scale and massing, of geometric rigour, that is immediately characteristic of his subsequent architectural projects – structures are sketched as a series of solids and voids, rectangular planes and parallel lines. Unsurprisingly, considering Venice’s historic pre-eminence as a trading point with China, elements of Oriental vernacular furniture can be detected in ebonised finishes, the deployment of lattice-screens, and upswept surfaces. As such, this collection serves to deliver intriguing perspective upon this most influential of architects at a crucial moment of artistic evolution.