Traditional meets modern
Mirco Toffolo R.
Laura Scrivere, Chiara Grimana (H.C.E. & Partners)
Carnival Palace in Venice is an exclusive, sophisticated four-star hotel housed in a redeveloped 1950s office building. Strategically located close to the railway station and Saint Mark’s Square, its rooms offer views onto the Cannaregio Canal with its vaporetti or onto a small but luxuriant internal garden, a haven of peace and tranquillity. Nearby is the Jewish quarter with its splendid campi, one of the few areas of Venice that still retain the atmosphere of old. But in spite of its splendid location, the redevelopment project was particularly complex due to the poor state of repair in which the building had languished for a number of years.
The project brief was to restore the building in keeping with the magic and history of this old maritime city. «We wanted to create a hotel with an elegant, harmonious atmosphere inspired by the Venetian tradition,» explained Laura Scrivere, the architect from H.C.E. & Partners who together with her colleague Chiara Grimana masterminded the hotel renovation project.
«This is reflected even in the name of the hotel — Carnival — inspired by one of the most famous Venetian traditions, and the logo in the shape of a mask, or bautta.
«We wanted the restoration project to maintain architectural continuity with adjacent buildings.
For the façade fronting the canal and the other two smaller elevations which look out over an internal garden and a splendid square, we opted for volumetric and colour solutions that would reflect the complexity and beauty of Venice.»
«The interior design project was based on the same concept,» continued Chiara Grimana. «We wanted to recreate that rich, sumptuous style for which Venetian buildings are renowned all over the world.»
Displaying exquisite feminine taste, the two designers combined fabrics and elegant finishes with splashes of intense colour inspired by the canvases of Titian and Canaletto.
The décor in the 56 rooms and 11 suites is based on the reds and blues of iridescent wallpaper, the black and white of the soft quilted leather of the bed headboards, and the gold and silver of the mirrors and lights. But the elegance of the interiors is achieved without sacrificing the modern functionality essential in a hotel. Contemporary surface covering materials were adopted, especially in spaces requiring durable, low maintenance solutions such as the bathrooms and high-traffic areas. For this reason, porcelain tile was chosen for the floors and walls of bathrooms throughout the hotel.
Inspired by the veins of Calacatta marble, the selected tiles («I Bianchi» collection from Rex) create neutral surfaces that blend perfectly with the style of each room. But many of the solutions adopted were created specially for the project, such as coloured LED lights illuminating the shower tray clad with minuscule mosaics and the washbasin decorated with glass-covered gold or silver leaf according to the finish chosen for the room. Another unique idea was that of installing the bath on the small terrace that is a shared feature of the 40 square metre suites.
Porcelain tiles are also used in the lobby but in an 80×80 cm extra large format and laid diagonally to enhance the sense of space («Pietra del Nord», also from Rex). The inclusion of a black inset (8×8 cm) breaks up the monotony of the all-white surface and creates a chequerboard motif. The elegantly tiled floor is in complete harmony with the splendid reception desk decorated with glass-covered gold leaf and the handmade cabinet with geometric motifs housing the computer and hotel registration documents.
Last but not least, a small garden offers a quiet green haven of peace, the ideal place for relaxing and meeting. Perhaps Ernest Hemingway, one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, was right when he said of Venice: «When I’m here I feel that at last I am where I belong.»
Rex, I bianchi di Rex and Pietra del Nord series
Calacatta, Sorrento, Bianco
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): <0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GLA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): classe IV
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): >40 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant