Friday, December 2, 2011

An ornate ceiling

Located down the street from me in the old Riggs Bank building is one of my favorite casual restaurants, Gordon Biersch ( I love their garlic fries and burgers!). I love the repurposing of the old bank lobby into a restaurant (they kept all of the old features such as bank slip stands, etc) and the faux painted marble columns with corinthian capitals and beautifully coffered ceiling never cease to amaze me.Designed by Arthur Heaton and James Hill in 1891, the Richardsonian Romanesque styled building now houses a Courtyard Marriot and retains a lot of the beautiful old details. Do you have any cool old repurposed buildings like this in your neighborhood?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti

Located along the Grand Canal in Venice is the Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti. Now housing the Venetian Institute of science, letters and arts, the palace started life in 1565 with many renovations since.
Like many of the palaces facing the Grand Canal, the main rooms are on the upper floors facing the canal providing beautiful views, seen in the room above. Notice the Venetian glass chandelier.
The palace is most known for is grand stairway built for Baron Franchetti in the 1880s by architect Camillo Boito. Boito was one of the preeminent architectural historians and restorationists of the day, chartering the modern historic restoration movement.While the Australian (who was kind enough to share these pictures) was in Venice, the Bienalli was taking place and the palace housed the glass exhibition, seen in part in the stairway above.

Designed in rich Venetian Gothic style, the house is characteristically rather over the top and ornamental: what we expect most in Venetian style.
As in all Venetian Palazzo's, the house fronts the canal with a courtyard or garden behind. I love this ornamental grille work.The palace has a rare side garden facing the canal which during the Bienalli housed a strange house called the Narrow House.Designed by Austrian artist Erwin Wurm as a reconstruction of his childhood house but squished to scale to only 1 meter wide to reflect the crowded conditions in Venice and the tricks our mind plays on our memory.

And I'm showing this because it's just amazing the detail that Wurm went to, but I promise you it's the only toilet you will ever see on ArchitectDesign!
Top photo of the Palazzo from Wikipedia, all others from the Australian.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gilt andirons

From the period rooms at the Met, these gilt andirons are the perfect addition to any holiday hearth!
You could always tell your kids that the stags are Santa's flying reindeer!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ca' d'Oro

The Palazzo Santa Sofia, commonly known as the Ca' d'Oro or golden house, is a 15th century palazzo along the Grand Canal in Venice. You probably recognize it from myriad postcards or the backdrop to movies, I know I do!The building is known as the golden house because its exterior used to be decorated with gilt and polychrome but now is natural stone; Old habits die hard I suppose! Built for the Contarini family by sculptor/ architect Giovanni Bon and his son, Bartolomeo Bon, in gothic style, it was a more decorative version of the style prefered by the Venetians which the Bon's made famous throughout Venice.

One arrives off the Grand Canal to the boat launch behind a screened loggia.Which gives entry to the courtyard.The loggias surrounding the courtyard have gorgeous inlaid marble floors and byzantine capitals topping the columns.How many different types of marble can you count here?The loggias upstairs off the main compartments offer breathtaking views of the Grand Canal.Since 1922 the house has been owned by the state and operates as a museum.In the collection is this bronze winged lion. The winged lion is representative of St. Mark the Evangelist who is the patron saint of the city and stands as the symbol of the city. Photos courtesy of the Australian.