Fortuny’s New Showroom
Our new Giudecca showroom was inspired by Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo’s vision of the theater. Housed in a former convent which the Fortuny founder converted into a textile factory almost a century ago, and where our fabrics are still produced to this day, the showroom’s design uses the idea of the stage as a point of departure for both the presentation of fabrics, as well as for the story of the brand and its namesake visionary, whose many creative pursuits in painting, photography, set design, clothing, and engineering revolutionized the worlds of textiles, fashion, theater, and lighting.
Architect and newly appointed Fortuny artistic director Alberto Torsello designed the showroom attuned to Mariano Fortuny’s ideas of vision and staging. This is most immediately palpable in the part of the showroom now considered “the Theater” with Torsello’s newly patented fabric display system designed specifically for Fortuny. Featuring fabric rollers installed on the showroom’s ceiling, it makes possible the lowering of textiles from above like a theater curtain. In this way the fabrics become architectural elements in the space, functioning as transposable backdrops to quickly form ever-changing environments, each one building its own uniquely enchanting world. In addition, Torsello has designed new bespoke rolling trunks which can be opened to reveal a chest of drawers displaying one to two yard fabric samples, both vintage selections and pieces from the current collection.
Fortuny’s legacy and artistic values are interwoven throughout. Arriving at the showroom’s entrance, visitors are greeted in a reception area, which serves as a link between inside and out, as well as between water and light. The windows, with the expansive views of the wide Giudecca canal, bring the atmosphere of Venice inside to meet a space devised for production, research, and invention. Central to the space is a narrow and steep Venetian staircase that is flanked by dark wooden tables and walls of fabric, connecting the design and architecture with the natural environment.
Moving towards the windows, we discover a room that’s been dubbed “the house of memory,” where pillow cushions of various sizes covered in an assortment of Fortuny fabrics are installed in a bookcase, as if they were works of art. Between the windows is a custom bookcase like a monument, with a binder for every pattern in Fortuny’s collection organized in its own specific compartment.
In 2022, Fortuny will be celebrating 100 years since the first fabric was produced on site at the factory on the Giudecca. On the eve of this historic occasion, Torsello has expanded on his expertise in historic preservation, designing a showroom that captures the spirit of Mariano Fortuny renewed for the contemporary era.
To schedule an appointment to visit the new showroom, contact us here.
We are excited to celebrate the new appointment of Venetian architect Alberto Torsello as Fortuny’s artistic director. Distinguished for his appreciation of context, complexity, heritage, and synthesis, Torsello’s creative vision fits right into the Fortuny universe, special in its contemporary approach to combining art and history into a total work of art that integrates every aspect of life from textiles to environments.
Torsello is renowned for his expertise in historic preservation. Practicing since 1994 and founding his studio TA Architettura in 2006, he quickly established himself as one of Venice’s leading architects, with a reputation for bringing together the conservation of culturally significant buildings with the design of exhibition spaces to promote their unique heritage. Among his many accomplishments, he executed architectural restorations for iconic places such as Palazzo Ducale, the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, and the Scuola Grande della Misericordia in Venice.
Torsello drew on this background with his design of the new Fortuny showroom, which is housed in a historic former convent converted a century ago into a textile factory that’s still active today. Throughout the showroom Torsello integrated the values of Fortuny’s visionary founder, Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo, who not only innovated luxury textile making for his couture fashions but was also a talented architect, inventor, painter, photographer, theater designer, lighting engineer, and set designer.
Like Mariano Fortuny, Torsello is a man of many talents. In addition to his expertise in conservation and restoration, he’s a celebrated inventor and industrial designer, having won the prestigious Compasso d’Oro award in 2018. For the showroom, Torsello designed a new patented system for textile display. With fabric rollers installed on the ceiling, it makes possible the lowering of textiles like a theater curtain, an homage to innovations Mariano Fortuny made to theater design and scenography in the early 20th century.