The showroom was once a long dark alley, which Scarpa transformed into a beautiful architectural masterpiece.
Walking around the Piazza San Marco, one would never imagine that within the many restaurants and stores, there’s an architectural masterpiece waiting to be discovered. The Olivetti showroom is 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 that 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 long dark alley, which Scarpa transformed into a beautiful architectural masterpiece. Once inside, it is 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.
At the center of the showroom, the first noticeable element of the space is a resilient marbled staircase, with stone treads that gradually change in width. The central tread extends out to the end of the wall, providing additional space for seating or showcasing. The stair floats 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 attention to detail and the human experience – red floor mosaics next to the water fountain, blue mosaics at the side of the entrance, white mosaics in the center space and yellow mosaics in the back wall.
Every single space is precisely designed and visually unique. The sensation of the architecture 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.