Have you ever had to leave your heart in a city and wished to take home a little piece to preserve the memory of that place? It has often happened to me. Maybe that’s the reason why I was immediately captured by Pieces of Venice, a social company which is giving Venice lovers the luxury of owning a little piece of it. Not trivial souvenirs, but design objects that express the authentic Venice, using wood, a material which speaks of the tradition and history of the city.
How did Pieces of Venice start?
Karin Friebel, co-founder of the project, says that the idea was born in a few evenings from the inventive mind of her husband Luciano Marson, who has a lifetime of experience and success in the manufacture of design furniture, always one step ahead in product innovation and communication. And so from a consultancy to develop furnishings made with wood from mooring posts, he was inspired to use this material to produce objects and home accessories instead.
Putting himself in the shoes of a tourist seeking original souvenirs and tired of the Chinese junk that invades Venice, Luciano thought of something really authentic and representative of the city.
At the beginning everything starts with the recovery of materials from the lagoon (wood from poles and docks) that acquire a new life to become useful objects. Soon Pieces of Venice was channelling the creative energies of designers and the technical skills of craftsmen who joined the project for the sake of Venice.
Then Karin’s enthusiasm gave wings to her husband’s idea, by setting up a new way of doing business, attentive to the environment and quality of life. Yes, because besides eco-sustainability and recycling, the initiative “Save Venice one piece at a time” added also the social commitment to maintain the dignity of the city.
Storytelling: objects tell stories
Now it’s time to discover some of these design objects, small but so full of meaning.
First of all, the miniature of waterbus and taxi, iconic means of transport for the lagoon city, that become elegant furnishing accessories with a unique silhouette. Then there are useful objects such as a shoehorn, fans and candle holders, all of them made in wood, pleasing both to the hand and to the eye. And again the collection Suoni and Visioni, household “companion-objects,” according to the designer Mariapia Bellis, a real box of memories of the places and sensory experiences lived in Venice.
All the names of the objects correspond to various addresses of the city, whether a museum or a restaurant isn’t important, the idea is to create a storytelling that invites us to discover places and tours of a more authentic Venice. Every souvenir marketed by Pieces of Venice tells a piece of true Venetian style, hands down a story, a place to preserve in order not to lose the identity of the city.
To promote quality tourism and counter the “touch and go” day-trippers.
Support Venice network
During 2019 the products were presented in the main museum shops and historical Venetian stores selected as preferred sales channels in addition to the on line shop. But 2020 was the year of major recognition for Pieces of Venice. In September the Compasso d’oro award for social design at the ADI Design Museum in Milan, later the promotion of the project through the renewed showcases of T Fondaco dei Tedeschi luxury department store.
And this is just the beginning. Luciano, Karin and the entire team are already working to develop new objects. They started from wood, a well known material, but they are open to using other recycled materials, for example glass and fabric, that represent the quintessence of local craft excellence. Just think about the numerous artistic glassworks in Murano and historical Venetian weaving firms like Fortuny, Rubelli or Bevilacqua that could donate their production waste to see them turned into original souvenirs.
The project is hitting the hearts and is receiving approval and aid from many sides. The common object? Creating a network to support the culture and tradition of a unique and extraordinary city. And all the Venice lovers, so many all over the world, can be part of this network, Pieces of Venice has created for them beautiful design objects, true and tangible memories to take home!
Photo courtesy: Pieces of Venice