‘The showroom was once a dark long alley, which Scarpa transformed into a beautiful architectural master piece.’
Walking around the Piazza San Marco, one would never imagine that within the many restaurants and other local stores there’s a beautiful architectural masterpiece waiting to be discovered. The Olivetti showroom is precisely located at the northern edge of the Piazza San Marco, in Venice, Italy.
Carlo Scarpa’s Olivetti Showroom was designed in 1957, as exhibition space for the Olivetti products. These products varied from calculators, to typewriters, and early computers; items which continue to be on display today. Nevertheless, what it’s currently the main attraction inside the showroom are not the products, but rather, the beautiful spaces and interior details designed by Scarpa.
The showroom was once a dark long alley, which Scarpa transformed into a beautiful architectural master piece. Once inside its impossible not to notice his particular attention to detail. He incorporated windows on the east and front facades to provide enough light for the visualization of the items. At the same time it blended the exterior and interior communication with the visitor.
Once inside at the center of the showroom, the first noticeable element of the space is a resilient marbled staircase. Each stone tread gradually changes its dimensions. The central tread extends out to the end of the wall, providing additional space. The stair seems to float weightlessly throughout the space as it leads its way up to the second level.
The addition of mosaic tiles at different locations of the showroom, demonstrates Scarpa’s great attention to detail and the human experience inside the space: Red floor mosaics next to the water fountain, blue mosaic at the side of the entrance, white mosaic in the central space and yellow mosaic in the back wall.
Every single space is precisely designed and unique. Once experiencing all the interior spaces the sensation of the architecture, rather feels like a paralyzed machine.
INTERSECTIONS OF ELEMENTS
CARVING + NOTCHING
Showroom Carlo Scarpa Mon-Fri 10:30am – 5:30pm Piazza San Marco 101 Procuratie Vecchie, Venezia, Italy
Texts, photographs and diagrams by Michelle Chedraui.