The Grimani Palace at San Luca is a majestic High Renaisance building designed by the Mannerist architect Michele Sanmicheli. “The Grimani Palace is a constant presence in my life because it looks out on the Grand Canal right across from our house: I love the clean formality of the architecture and that gorgeous elegance, which actually also make it a particularly good subject for engraving”.
The Grimani candle holder features the palace’s second piano nobile, with its big windows separated by columns: the engraved area reproduces the bare lines of the architecture as if they were blooming out of the grey Murano-blown glass. When the candle is lit, the holder comes to life and projects the shadowy outline of its windows onto the table.
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.