Along the water's edge of the Canal Grande in San Polo one of Venice’s oldest quarters, the 16th century Palazzo Papadopoli by architect Giangiacomo dei Grigi was originally designed for the Coccina family, built in 1570, and is now home to the luxurious Aman Grand Canal.
Over the past six or more generations, the palazzo has passed through the families of Venetian merchants who commissioned artists including Cesare Rotta to fresco the ballroom and complete the building's Neoclassical refurbishment and gardens,
The latest intervention by Denniston Architects’ Jean-Michel Gathy embraces the colour and texture of the palace’s opulent history, its elaborate frescos, Rococo ornamentation and carved timber panelling, and adds a deftly curated edit of contemporary design. Restored ceilings and staircases, a frescoed ballroom and 300-year-old leather-walled library, and the building's original Murano chandeliers now mingle with new design interventions.
A collaboration with furniture groups B&B Italia and Maxalto is central to the Aman's new interiors, balancing the palazzo's richly layered history with new collections of furniture designed by 20th-century architects and designers.
Maxalto is worth a special mention. Established by B&B Italia in 1975, the first collection was designed by Afra and Tobia Scarpa in wood, bringing with it an approach that bridged the revival of classic forms with the manual craftsmanship of the cabinetmaker. Since that time, Antonio Citterio has been developing and coordinating each new collection, fine-tuning the traditions of craft – wood, metal, upholstery – together with the latest techniques from B&B Italia’s R&D Centre.
With an emphasis on research and collaboration, B&B Italia has established a reference point for international projects. Hotels include the Mandarin Oriental in Barcelona by Patricia Urquiola and in Milan, Antonio Citterio, Hotel Gallia in Milan by Marco Piva, and both the Bulgari in London and Milan designed by Antonio Citterio. Working alongside architects on each hotel project, the group has the chance to dig deep into the collection that spans 50 years and draw together pieces across a range of iterations, colours, finishes and formats. It's also a way of trialing new design pieces, which at the Aman in Venice included the Crinoline collection designed by Patricia Urquiola.