A stone’s throw from Piazza San Marco, this late 19th-century palazzo has been restored as a high-fashion boutique to serve as Dolce & Gabbana’s new space in Venice. As if on the stage at the nearby Teatro La Fenice, the curtain has gone up at Palazzo Torres for designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana’s creations, against an enhanced backdrop of marble, mosaics, inlaid wood, damask fabrics, and Murano glass. The boutique’s interior was designed by Carbondale, founded in 2004 in Paris by US architect Eric Carlson. The firm has designed a host of award-winning projects in the luxury retail sector worldwide.
Originally built by the Torres family, in the 20th century the palazzo was acquired by a hotel company, and subsequently became a bank. The building’s hallmark feature is its eclectic style, one that evocatively embraces Oriental, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque touches. The boutique offers some 800 sq. m on two levels. The past and present interact through a sequence of rooms, each of which is identified by a particular combination of colors and finishes.
Immediately past the front doors of the building’s stone façade, the first room has retains its historical appearance, its walls resplendent in their original boiserie and painted in trompe-l’oeil technique, while the floors are multicolored inlays of antique marble. Wooden bas-reliefs depict scenes from late 19th-century Venetian artisan and merchant life; modern furnishings blend in with the richly-decorated room, which remains the undisputed protagonist.
From here, one enters a gallery where the walls are covered in gold leaf mosaic, handmade by local artisans, where brass shelving displays Dolce & Gabbana accessories and bags. Next is the modern part of the boutique, where each room has a mosaic floor composed of different-colored marble, which is also reprised on the walls. The area dedicated to women is picked out by Rosso Levanto, while Mint Green predominates for the men’s collections. Finally, in the jewelry room, the Nero Marquinia marble mosaic floor is juxtaposed with walls in dark blue glass mosaic with gold leaf stars, recalling the decoration on the façades of the San Marco Basilica and the clock tower.
A staircase clad entirely in Verde Antigua marble leads to the second floor, where the most special collections are housed. The main level has terrazzo flooring in the Venetian style; the walls are lined with colored silk damask fabrics, and the ceilings still retain their original frescoes. In the modern portion of the second floor, the room dedicated to women’s evening dresses is dominated by Giallo Siena marble, which runs unbroken over the walls and floor, where it encircles a centrally-positioned wooden inlay. In the menswear area, Azul Boquira and Irish Green marble prevail.
The furniture includes pieces designed by Carbondale specifically for this project: armchairs inspired by the shape of a pincushion, paired with blown-glass chandeliers, hangers and knobs.
Location: Venice, Italy
Client: Dolce & Gabbana
Gross Floor Area: 800 m2
Main Contractor: Exa Group
Mechanical: Studio Associato BPG
Fire System: Studio Emi Engineering
Photography by Antoine Huot, courtesy of Carbondale
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