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  • Writer's pictureStefania Gioia

Bevilacqua: from 18th Century to Starck Design

Updated: Mar 2, 2018

Most recently it’s been in the spotlight as part of the Gran Caffe’ Quadri restoration project: some walls of the historical bar and restaurant in Piazza San Marco are now beautifully covered with its brocatelle, creatively reinterpreted by Philippe Starck. We are talking about Tessitura Bevilacqua, a company that, starting from 1875, has been practicing in Venice the art of weaving on original 18th-century looms.

Starck, who ironically introduced contemporary elements to the most classic interiors, knew perfectly that this delicate job would have been impossible without Venetian artisans’ involvement. That’s why, selecting the crew, he couldn’t help by surrounding himself with the most refined ones, such as the weaving company we recently happened to visit.

Entering for the first time Bevilacqua’s factory, we were surprised to be shown around by its CEO Alberto Bevilacqua in person, who generously shared his enthusiasm for a profession that, for centuries, has made his family name worldwide.

As a matter of fact, Tessitura Bevilacqua is currently involved in the restoration of Dresden Royal Palace, almost levelled in the II World War; it also created fabrics for the Washington’s White House, for the Swedish Royal Palace, the Casa Rosada in Argentina, and the Royal Palace of Kuwait. Not to mention the many haute couture stylists who enriched their creations with the precious fabrics.

It is currently possible to admire some of its best artifacts in several churches of Venice, such as Basilica di San Marco or Madonna della Salute, whose columns have been covered with Bevilacqua’s soprarizzo velvet.

But the most extraordinary fact is that the company, which currently counts 6 active weavers, was able to restore and put back into operation about 14 Jacquard looms, rediscovering old, long forgotten techniques. In a large, marvellous room facing Grand Canal, plenty of fabrics are displayed on walls and tables. Their bright colors seem to enlighten the ancient, wooden frames and the steep piles of drawings accumulated in centuries of history and activity.

According to Bevilacqua, a growing number of young students is interested in learning this archaic profession, and visiting the factory we had the opportunity to see some of them at work: such an exceptional experience!

Including this artisanal factory in its private, off the beaten path tours, Have a Glass in Venice will introduce you to the artisanal world of Venice, a space to be carefully preserved and cleverly promoted.

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