Saturday, 29 September 2007

Rene Caovilla

I'm not what you'd call a big footwear fan. Oh, I wear shoes, but I view them as a necessary evil - and hate the process of actually buying the damned things. So this posting may come as a bit of a surprise - since the star of the piece is Italian shoe and accessory designer, Rene Caovilla. Out on my rambles this evening I spotted the intriguingly-named: Caovilla Venice. To be fair, it was the "Venice" that attracted my attention - not the "Caovilla", which until now was not a word I was familiar with.

The island, as you will have surmised, belongs to Rene Caovilla. As well as fashion accessories, the Caovilla family has many business interests. For example, "he is the major shareholder of the Gazzettino daily newspaper and a member of the Voting Syndicate of the Banca Antonveneta, besides owning a large real-estate portfolio which includes the Fattoria di Mugnano...the next major step is the opening of the first own-brand boutique in Milan; a luxury salon in the heart of the town, at Via Bagutta 28, furnished with works of art, wall tapestries and architectural features from 18th century Venice." The company itself is now based just outside Venice.

The island brings together a number of Venice's most famous architectural masterpieces, including the Rialto bridge, the campanile in Piazza San Marco and the Doge's Palace. The showroom for Rene Caovilla sits in the middle of the island. There are a number of water taxis and gondola, but sadly they are not scripted, and so they sit there looking pretty - but are otherwise pretty useless. In fact, the same can be said for much of the island - it looks pretty, but it does not engage with you. As a 3D advertisement, it may be OK - I actually like the showroom building - but the island lacks spirit. It also seems to be missing the spirit of Venice itself. In place of the narrow, claustrophobic alleys and canals, with startlingly beautiful views at the least expected moments, this island has large open areas of green lawns, and enough sky to make even a mild agoraphobic nervous - most un-Venetian. There is also no concept of community here. As I said, it appears to be treating the space as a large 3D billboard. If this is their intention I think they will be disappointed in the traffic it will generate.

But enough of such carping - here's what it looks like:

The showroom - by day and by night:

Let me know what you think. Am I being too harsh? Have I missed something?

UPDATE 09-10-07: See comments, where the builder, Lupo Ellison, explains that the island is actually still under construction, and that plans are afoot to make it more typically Venetian. I plan to go back in a month or two, to see how it has evolved.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thx for your interesting article about Caovilla Venice, Aleister. I'm Lupo ellison, and I built the whole island (alone) starting from the default one in 2 months, last summer. Obviously, you didn't find people or any visitors or scripted boat: the island is under construction, at the moment. I have to build a typical venetian borrough, with small "calli" and a "campo", and set an automatic "vaporetto" system and scripted boats and other attractions. In the end, at your next visit, i hope you'll appreciate the complete Caovilla Venice. All the best. Lupo Ellison.