On April 21st, 2013, next door to Piazza San Marco, the Louis Vuitton Venice Maison opened its doors to the public. Situated in the heart of the city, the Maison features a cultural space, Espace Louis Vuitton Venezia, the first in Italy and only the sixth of its type in the world. “Venice has always been special to the House” says Michael Burke, President of Louis Vuitton. “A city on a lagoon at the crossroads of East and West, it symbolizes travel and an openness to new horizons. It is also a city of art and design, which has always known how to bring together beauty, elegance and art de vivre. With this Maison, we wanted to pay homage to Venetians and lovers of the city by offering them our most beautiful designs, as well as a space for art and culture wholly dedicated to them.”
Upon first arrival on the calle San Marco, visitors encounter the amazing sight of a rationalist and monumental palazzo, designed by architect Brenno Del Giudice in 1936. this is followed by sculptor Napoleone Martinuzzi’s haut-reliefs, among which sit a reel of film and the Venetian lions – also used by the Mostra – symbolic references to the building’s cinematic past. Today, they are joined by the building’s new stars, elegant and sophisticated shoes in specially created windows, the fruit of the region’s artisans and their savoir-faire, designed and made in the nearby Fiesso d’Artico.
Once past the front doors, the visitor enters a vast lobby opening onto spaces dedicated to men’s and women’s leather goods. The architecture and design, with the collaboration of architect Peter Marino, are based on a game of shadows and light, reminiscent of Louis Vuitton’s iconic Damier, a geometric symphony of chiaroscuro. On the floor, onyx flagstones repeat the play of light and dark. On the walls, the glossy ivory of the Venetian stucco, decorated with pale golden shelves, contrasts with the dark wood of the floor counters. The concept is one of modernity punctuated by tradition, as seen in the antique Venetian mirror and a collection of carnival masks, homage to the city’s craftsmanship.
From bags to accessories to small leather goods, on the ground floor visitors are presented with a wide choice of the house’s most beautiful creations. Next to familiar Monogram or Damier bags, the store will showcase reinterpreted icons in mini versions, such as the Petit Noé and the Alma BB, as well as designs in Epi leather reworked in 15 new and vibrant colors.
The Art of Travel
Louis Vuitton has been reinventing the Art of travel since 1854 and the creation of its first flat-bottomed trunk. And today, at the heart of Maison Venezia, visitors will discover its latest creations, all driven by a tradition of innovation. Modern nomads will find the latest ingenious luggage and bags, made from ultra-light and hardwearing materials. During the opening celebrations clients will be treated to demonstrations of the Louis Vuitton’s “Art of Packing”. The art of travel will also be celebrated in the “Made for Travel” ready-to-wear collection, clothing that is a showcase of innovation. Whether patented quick-drying, antibacterial fabrics, fibres mixed with titanium to become anti-UV shields or longlasting waterproof and stainproof treatments, it all follows the same leitmotiv: to be elegant and immaculate, whatever the journey throws at them.
A curved staircase takes visitors up to the first floor and the men’s collections, a kingdom of sophisticated atmosphere of wood and warm colours. Facing the central skylights is the ready-to-wear collection designed by Kim Jones under the creative direction of Marc Jacobs.
A small salon invites visitors to relax and discover the sheer breadth of the shoe range. In Venice, the house has decided to offer all its models, from the most elegant to the sportiest, crafted in the Manufacture de Souliers in Fiesso d’Artico.
At the heart of the ready-to-wear space is an LV Cup corner, inspired by the renowned yacht race which celebrated its 30th anniversary this year and in which Venice has always played a major role. Clothing, leather goods, shoes and accessories: a whole range entirely dedicated to sailors and aficionados of nautical style.
Endurance and comfort are the two watchwords for a collection that features ultra-light, waterproof, windproof, anti-UV fabrics designed to resist saltwater and the most extreme conditions, whether for the length of a regatta, a long cruise or a simple trip out to sea.
Ascending a few more steps visitors will reach the second floor, bathed in light from enormous windows that look out onto calle San Marco. Delicate and light colours, with a note of serenity, are set off by gold-flecked stucco: we are in a temple dedicated to women. On the wall is “Vedute”, an artwork by Jean-François Rauzier, which offers a dream-like vision of the Serenissima thanks to new and personal perspectives on celebrated views. For the first time in Venice, Louis Vuitton is offering its clients a chance to discover the Marc Jacobs-designed ready-to-wear collection, as well as a space entirely given over to the most beautiful Louis Vuitton shoes, straight off the catwalk. Maison Venezia also welcomes a rare and exceptional space for leather-goods lovers. Decorated with panels lacquered with gold leaf, its walls showcase the house’s most beautiful leather creations made by the most experienced artisans in its historical Ateliers in Asnières, near Paris.
For those searching for discretion, this floor houses a Private Room hidden behind two doors made of Macassar ebony. The walls are made from Venetian stucco where bronze lines play opposite large walls padded like the house’s renowned Ladies trunk. The beauty of materials, the choice of colours and perfection of the smallest details make for exceptional creations and an exclusive experience.
The final steps of the staircase lead up to the Bookstore. On the way, visitors can admire the chandelier: the unusual and luminous work, ‘Fragments’, by Fernando & Humberto Campana, which is made from recycled Murano crystal fragments. Venice is a city of aesthetes and writers, a city of culture permanently in motion. Which is why it seemed natural and appropriate to open a bookstore here, offering art books and major publications from Éditions Louis Vuitton. Sofas, a reading space and a selection of prints invite visitors to relax. Here they have arrived at their destination, their journey’s end. Unless, of course, is about to begin.
Louis Vuitton Venice Maison
San Marco 1345,
+39 041 522 45 00
Mondays to Saturdays – 10:00 AM to 7:30 PM
Sundays – 10:30 AM to 7:30 PM
Images via Louis Vuitton