The designer, of course, fell for the original 15th century
The hotel is in an idyllic location, on the Grand Canal, yet
columns that encircle the room. They stand 14-feet high. He
away from the madness of San Marco. This quiet area has
left all 20 of them in place, and designed the room around
them. The space became a hybrid of a lobby, a dining
tiny, enchanting shops selling mirrors, antiques and jewelry.
A few galleries are found here as well. And, the museum
room and a lounge. It is the official restaurant, but tables are
Palazzo Grassi renovated by Tadao Ando, is literally around
never set up with tableware. Intentionally so. It is meant to be
less hotel, more homey. “I want it to feel as if my guests are
There is no sign for the Palazzina Grassi; Starck designed
living in a Venetian home,” Garosci said, as we sat on plush
leather sofas having a late afternoon espresso. The notion of
bull’s heads, in glass, to hang over each entrance. Meandering
back to the hotel one foggy night, looking for the narrow
leaving the tables unset allows the guest to determine what
passageway leading there, I turned, only to see the glass bulls
experience they desire: a glass of Proseco? Dinner? Day
dreaming? Anything you want. The staff will oblige. It’s all part
heads, beckoning me home, their red horns in a hazy glow n
Palazzina Grassi, San Marco 3247, Venice, Italy + 39 04 1528 4644
of Palazzina Grassi’s bespoke approach.
make five glass sculptures for the hotel. They
are dramatic, metaphorical creations; on the
canal side they possess water symbols, those
on the street side, represent the earth.
If you are wandering along the Grand Canal
you may want to hop upon a gondola. It’s the
most charming way to cross, and efficient—
taking only a minute or two. Head to François
Pinault’s newly opened contemporary art
museum at the Dogana or to the Guggenheim.
While aboard, notice the antique wood of the
boat; for centuries they have been made of
pure mahogany. Starck knew this and chose
the material for the walls and ceilings in the
center room of the Palazzina.
Make time for an early evening visit to the elegant, glass
topped cicchetteria bar, where Venetian tapas are served.
This is the time when locals unwind and do a bit of socializing.
There is an allure, here, amid Starck’s sexy atmosphere, lit so
evocatively, with dazzling Venini and Fornasetti lamps.
When a late afternoon retreat to your room is in order,
an utterly serene environment awaits you with pale hues of
creamy pink or pale bamboo for walls and carpets. And the
beds are clouds of pure white, with the purest Italian linen one
can imagine sleeping on.
Starck has woven the colors of Venice into his design for the
hotel. In the muted tones he employed subtlety. In the public
spaces, he took a bolder direction. A gutsy palette of coral,
acid green, lilac and black, are all colors seen, in varying
degrees, in the architecture of ancient palazzo’s here—just
pushed a bit further. Turning to tradition, the Venetian stucco
method was used to render all wall surfaces as smooth as silk.
There can be no building in Venice without glass in many
forms. It is integral to the sensibility here. Again, Starck did it his
way, commissioning Murano based artist Aristide Najean to