THE ART OF SURPRISE AT CA' PISANI
“My family has loved Art Deco for many years. We wanted something of that feel but warm and rounded, not minimalist, so we blended antiquity, Art Deco, and modern technology."
Amble into many fine Venetian establishments and there’s a good chance you’ll be greeted with self-referential Rococo opulence—Girandole mirrors, Lacquerwork, Murano glass chandeliers, for example. Not so at Ca’Pisani, which instead marches to its own beat. Here, one is happily confronted with an ingenious, unexpected mix of playful, bespoke design elements and carefully-preserved, centuries-old architectural details—such as rustic, hand-painted ceiling beams and breathtaking floors of traditional marble mosaic, in a culturally-treasured style known as Terrazzo alla Veneziana.
“My father has been working for many years in the business and said, ‘Let’s do something different here, not the usual velvet and Venetian glass hotel,’” explains Marianna Serandrei. For nearly three years, beginning in 1997, the family met on a weekly basis with designers Roberto Luigi Canovaro and Gianluigi Pescolderung to dream up and debate the hotel’s finer points. And what fine points! Here, one quickly takes note of polished chrome (Ziggurat) door handles; elegant wooden inlays adorning each guestroom door; and sleek, flying saucer chandeliers made by Murano glass artisans Barovier & Toso.
To complete the vision, the family drew from their personally curated collection of 1930s-40s Art Deco treasures, unearthed from secret spots across Italy and from Mercante in Fiera, an international trade fair of Modernism, art and design held each spring and fall in Parma. The result is stunning! Each guest room is furnished with an exquisite Art Deco bed as well as individual vintage pieces. Meanwhile, artwork by Italian Futurist painter Fortunato Depero (1892-1960)—a renowned figure in the Italian Futurist movement—adds refinement and compliments the hotel graphics, which draw inspiration from iconic prints, such as Campari’s bold, spirited advertisements.
“My family has loved Art Deco for many years,” says Marianna. “We wanted something of that feel but warm and rounded, not minimalist, so we blended antiquity, Art Deco, and modern technology. To do something as radically different, at the time, as the design of Ca’Pisani shows we could see somehow into the future.”
The result is grand, elegant, modern yet timeless—with just a touch of understated whimsy. Come to think of it, the same thing could be said of Marianna herself.