While in Venice we had an invitation from Fortuny to visit their facility on the island of Giudecca. A vaporetta ride, and we were there. The factory is housed in an old brick building, right on the Giudecca canal. The only hint at what awaits inside are the letters spelling the family name across the top of the building. The showroom is located on the property of the factory, and has recently been completely re-designed by Barry Dixon. We were met by Giuseppe Ianno, the manager of the facility.
The showroom is truly breathtaking. To see the beautiful Fortuny fabrics used so lavishly was a real treat. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the product; Fortuny is a hand printed cotton fabric, typically with a soft metallic design in either gold or silver applied over the printed cotton. Sounds a little glitzy for most folks, but the reality is that it is not. The fabrics are beautiful and can be as subtle or as powerful as you want, depending on the combination of colors. Oh, forgot to mention that they can also be customized, so it is possible to get the exact design that you want, in exactly the color combination that you want. They only use the finest cotton, and at first glance, you would think the fabrics were printed on silk because of the luminous sheen.
A blue and green color scheme was used in the showroom to reinforce the “water” theme of the Venice location. Many folds were in the drapery panels to compliment the “waves” in the water beyond. The draperies were one of my favorite things. The border was quilted, and the draperies had Fortuny lining fabric “tied” to the face fabric. It was a beautiful detail. Also in the showroom were the new range of Fortuny Murano glass lamps, as well as address and note books bound with their stunning fabrics.
We had the opportunity to tour the garden on the property after we were finished in the showroom. I’ve been to lots of factories over the years, and never have seen a beautiful garden associated with one. The garden was lovely, and covered in roses in full bloom. There is also a swimming pool on the party where the Countess who formerly owned the company entertained. It is one of only a handful of swimming pools in Venice, where they are currently banned since they do not fit in with the historic accuracy of the city.
As we walked back toward the Vaporetta to return us to Venice, we passed the bookbinding studio where the address books covered in Fortunty fabrics were made. The gentleman producing these was so proud of his craft, and really did an incredible job. It was an awesome experience and made for a memorable day in Venice.