It’s as if you are entering a painting by 18th century Italian artist Canaletto. Rich Venetian light floods the scene as the beauty of the surrounding piazza takes over the passersby, the cafés filled with people, and the church that overlooks in grandeur in the background. Such a depiction is akin to everyday life at Palazzo Volpi, ideally situated in a peaceful square in the Canareggio district of Venice – about 10 minutes from the Rialto and San Marco. For the past 70 years the building’s sole occupant has been a solitary priest. Now Paris-based designers Anna Covre and Frederic Tubau have brought the palazzo back to life injecting it with wondrous design – enlightening its delicious volumes with modern furniture, fine materials and a refined colour palette of white marble, pale hues and rich wooden tones.
Known as 'The Studio' and based just minutes from Place de la Madeleine, since 2008 Anna and Fred’s award-wining creative practice has led them to work for some of the most prestigious labels in beauty, luxury, and interior design. Working on product design for companies such as L’Oreal, Coty, Armani, Beiersdorf and LVMH, the duo are now turning more towards interior design work. At Palazzo Volpi they’ve incorporated exquisite materials such as Carrara marble, travertine, Black Limba wood from Africa, Rubelli fabrics and Yuzu from Japan. “We wanted something modern, more international and less 18th-century design, but at the same time to have something which evoked the aesthetics of Venice,” says Fred. “We used the wood to evoke the wood on the Venetian water taxi. Everything was made by hand and given three layers of varnish – it took almost a month to produce.”
A look at the lavish yet cozy dining space
Walking into the Palazzo Volpi is a dream. The lights illuminate automatically on the ground floor and one immediately takes in lilacs that have been elegantly placed on a small stool. Walk up a series of stairs or take the elevator to your apartment and open the tall black doors into a contemporary dream world of subdued luxurious design. Beams from the original palazzo greet the visitor like rays of light while mirrors align each wall giving a sense of greater proportion to the space. Larici wood, an Italian pine tree, has been used for the entry doors and on the floor are silk rugs from India. “For the colour of the walls we tried to have the same colour as the white marble on the floor,” adds Fred.
Bedroom view of the luxurious setting designed by Anna Crove and Fredrick Tubau
Sumptuous Venetian Rubelli fabrics can be found on the sofas and armchairs in delicious colours. The sliding doors into each room have incorporated Japanese Yuzu paper. “The mirrors are very special because they have this metallic finish that endows the viewer with more beauty,” smiles Fred. Maybe we didn’t need to know that secret, but indeed the subtle lighting and cool colour palette also work in the guest’s favour – our reflection at Palazzo Volpi is one akin to a subjet in a Bellini painting. To top it off state-of-the-art technology – all easy to use – gives the perfect touch. From turning off all lights with a simple flick from your bedside, to illuminating the beautiful marble-clad bathroom with its large bathtub, the modern amenities have transformed the palazzo into a place like no other in Venice.
A view of the beautifully encrafted bathroom at the apartment with its deep-soaking tub
The palace comprises three suites, one of which is a three-bedroom apartment that opens into a bijou courtyard. For guests traveling with large families, the palazzo can be rented out for a party of nine. While a daily cleaning service keeps things tidy, the apartments are largely self-catering. You’ll feel Venetian after just one day. For special occasions, one can even hire a private chef. The glory comes not just from Anna and Fred’s delectable design but from the piazza below, which is home to Rosa Salva, Venice’s oldest bakery. Sit there with a cappuccino in hand as you start your day and relish a view onto the Scuola Grande di San Marco and Basilica Santi Giovanni e Paolo just as if you were viewing the same in a Canaletto painting. palazzovolpi.com