Design Details: Color in Venice

I feel like I’m still adjusting to L.A.V. (Life After Venice). A visit to a place that has a powerful aura of history, mystery and beauty distilled down to its essence without the distractions of modern city life — even a few days without cars and big box architecture — makes a very strong impression.

What sticks with me was the completely different sense of scale; the narrow passageways opening up onto unexpected squares in the mazelike configuration that makes getting from point A to B just enough of a adventure to become a happy memory. The constant nearness of water and how the pace of the happily meandering fellow tourists set the speed of travel were also big changes from my daily city life experience. But, as someone who obsesses about design both personally and professionally, the colors of Venice were a revelation worth remembering.

Flying in on an overcast day, I was struck with how the city from the air looked golden, not in the metallic way (although you do see plenty of gilt in Venice), but rather that the macro view is mainly of a beautiful orangey yellow terracotta. A big switch from the silvery grey of concrete, glass and steel that many other cities present as their baseline color.

Once on the ground and exploring, I was literally never without a camera in hand. I’d try to put in in my bag, but gave up after the first hour or so, as I realized I was pulling it back out again a few minutes later each time.

The combinations and colors that are my favorites:
• 1-3: the glossy black paint used for gondolas and doors against the murky green of the canals and chalky gold of a painted facade
• 4-7: the amazing multitude of reds (which are usually paired with dark green) and
• 8: the bright yellow cafe chairs in San Marco paired with the crisp white of both the tablecloths and waiter’s old school dinner jackets
• 9-10: the pink orange of the buildings in the sunlight

I traveled to Venice as part of a trip to find out about the production of SFERRA linens, the luxury bedding brand about to celebrate their 120th anniversary. More posts to follow from the Italian adventure!

Images: Janel Laban