As I have written before, I am happy just wandering in Venice and discovering places by chance. On our last trip we stumbled across a fascinating showroom created by Lunardelli Venezia dedicated to the craftmanship of the vast amount of wood to be found across the city.
Venice's element is of course, water. The first scenes that are called to mind are of the numerous channels, criss-crossing their way throughout the city. However, Lunardelli really got me thinking about this more earthy side of the city. Suddenly we were aware of how dependent Venice is on wood, from the gondolas, to the shutters, wooden planks for navigating the aqua alta and the iconic briccola (more on this later!) not to mention the fact that wood forms the foundations of the floating city itself. You can read more about how Venice was built here.
Lunardelli tell more on their website of the relationship between Venice and wood;
''Hidden in the foundation of calli and palazzi, wood upholds Venice; it marks the waterways throughout the lagoon, offers boats a harbor, and was a crucial element in the Serenissima’s awesome seafaring vocation.''
Briccola are the collections of wooden masts used to mark the berths and navigable waterways through the lagoon. Made from oak or larch and preserved by the salt, the posts become home to shipworm marine molluscs who carve out the characteristic round holes found in the older pieces. Every 10-20 years aged posts are replaced.
From reclaimed briccola, Lunardelli create their product, Sfojo. This video taken from their website, beautifully illustrates its story.
The lovely sisters working in the showroom and workshop explained and demonstrated how the briccola are sliced into discs, cleaned, then treated with beeswax. We enjoyed watching the process taking place and our little boy was delighted to be given a little offcut of the wood to add to his toy collection, proudly declaring it to be a dog!
Other exhibits we liked were the larch wood Piova lamps pictured below, inspired by the ripples created by raindrops on the lagoon. With Venice also being famed for its glass, many of the exhibits create a fusion between the two materials in this way.
In terms of sustainability, the founders of Lunardelli Venezia are extremely careful about the environmental impact of every stage in the production process. They opt for reclaimed wood and avoid treating with or adding synthetic materials.
We loved how the history, stories and traditions of Venice have been preserved through the use of its wood and re-purposed into contemporary objects.
Discover the free exhibition at Calle del Cristo in the San Polo district here
From here we wandered on, crossing the Rialto bridge and shortly discovering the National History Museum in Santa Croce about a twenty minute stroll away. Tools followed by dinosaurs certainly make for a happy family day out!