“With its double row of loggias, the tracery and quatrefoil openings over them, the mouldings, the lacework along the roofline – much of it once gilded – the Ca’ d’Oro has always cast a spell over me, to the point where I longed to engrave its intricate architecture on glass.”
Thanks to some delicate engraver work, the candle holder, crafted in Murano from grey glass, succeeds in capturing the essential traits of that asymmetrical masterpiece. One recognises immediately the unique filigree of the palace, what Joseph Brodsky called “the upright lace of Venetian facades” or “the best line that time-alias-water has left on terra firma anywhere”. Once the candle inside is lit, the candle holder comes to life: the Gothic balconies are suddenly illuminated as if the owners had just come home.
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.