On the occasion of FuoriSalone, designer Giberto Arrivabene Valenti Gonzaga has been crafting LUCE SERENISSIMA, exquisite light switches that blend ancient materials with modern design techniques, evoking feelings of timelessness and craftsmanship.
The idea for the switches started at home, Palazzo Papadopoli, the baroque-style Palazzo on the Grand Canal in Venice. One day, while working in his studio he let his eyes linger on a time-honored light switch made of marble.
He realized that similar switches used to populate tables and bedside tables when he was a child, but they have since disappeared from modern design vocabulary. Thus began the journey of the LUCE SERENISSIMA switches, which, he envisioned, would be both functional and serve as small-scale works of art.
Combining vermeil, silver dipped in gold, glass and Madagascar stones has resulted in three different versions, slight but surprising variations on the theme. The first is green, in Avventurina glass, a very particular glass scattered with golden specks, the second in rhodonite, a shiny pink stone with black streaks, and the third in agate, a rare stone that fades from shades of blue to grey. All are fashioned with vermeil buttons.
The life of Giberto Arrivabene Valenti Gonzaga is viscerally linked to Venice. His childhood memories, the most beautiful, are those that have taken place in the rooms of Palazzo Papadopoli, between frescoes of Tiepolo and family affection. “In my earliest memories Venice had other colours. It was more obscure, dramatic, decayed and deeply romantic – simply beautiful. There wasn’t the same light like there is today – more dazzling perhaps, but less poetic.”
Each piece derives from a watercolour sketch made by Giberto on tracing paper: “When I see something that inspires me, or an object that I like, I sketch and rework it – then move on to the realization of it.”
The glass, the main material in the collections, is worked exclusively in Murano. Each glass, each specific object, is blown by master glassmakers in the Venetian furnaces.
Giberto takes his watercolours to discuss with them and refine the project, check its feasibility, and to make eventual changes.