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Photo: Nicolas Kern

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One of Carlo Scarpa's masterpieces

Marcolin sets the campaign for the new Web Eyewear collection in the historic Olivetti showroom in Venice, a masterpiece designed by Carlo Scarpa.

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Straddling architecture and design

It is in the extraordinary setting of the historic Olivetti showroom in Venice, under the loggia of the Procuratie Vecchie, the space skilfully designed by Carlo Scarpa in 1957 for Adriano Olivetti which has been reopened to the public thanks to FAI, that Marcolin wanted to set the new campaign for its Web Eyewear line autumn-winter collection. This was no accidental choice, given the affinity between the elegant intelligence of the great Venetian architect – also translated into extreme attention to detail – and the sophisticated taste coupled with knowledge of materials expressed by the Marcolin brand.

 

Form and substance

The Olivetti showroom, an authentic work of art arranged over two floors, welcomes visitors with the sculpture-fountain entitled Nudo al sole [Naked in the Sun] by Alberto Viani, a gilded bronze work from 1956 (and recently restored) that Scarpa had placed in a black Belgian stone basin filled with water to reflect its upside-down image. But the real stroke of genius is the staircase that dominates the central hall, with its steps made of Aurisina marble, widely used in Venice until the Middle Ages, which seem to be suspended in the void and lend a sense of lightness and airiness to the whole room. Above, in the small areas formed by the two long galleries, a number of historic Olivetti typewriters and calculating machines, themselves examples of Italian design excellence, are on display. Like the frames from the Web Eyewear collection, Marcolin’s house brand created in 2008 and now known the world over.

Transparencies that are echoed in the acetate frames with titanium details from the new Web Eyewear season.

The light of Venice

The themes of light and water therefore dominate the space of the Olivetti showroom, the forerunner of modern flagship stores. Two elements that are known to characterise Venetian topography and art, and which are evoked here by a skilful use of natural light. And of the materials, mixed in a continuous play on colour contrasts and transparencies: from the marble and Murano glass floor (Scarpa began his career in the Murano glassworks) to the African teak and rosewood of the balconies, through to the bevelled crystal glass display cases. Transparencies that are echoed in the acetate frames with titanium details from the new Web Eyewear season. The lightness of which, enhanced for this campaign by the lens of American fashion photographer Nicolas Kern, conveys the idea of simple, contemporary elegance. Minimalist design, natural colours, textured effects and transparencies: as in Scarpa’s architecture, the beauty of these glasses lies in each individual detail. And this, perhaps, is the key to successfully combining style and comfort, sophistication and functionality. In architecture as in product design.

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