The refurbishment

The main objective of the restoration was to recreate the atmosphere of the late nineteenth century when the hotel was a reference point for intellectuals of the period.

However, the intention of the operation was not to produce an artificial representation of a past environment but rather to evoke the feelings of those who stayed here at the time, perhaps whilst they were creating a work of art, by using an eclectic mixture of furnishings and collections.

Entering the Londra Palace and looking out of its windows, you feel as though you have stepped back into the past: the view ranges from the majestic San Giorgio to the nearby San Zaccaria, from the jumble of tiled roofs to the San Marco Basin, often illuminated by the sun.

The interiors were fittingly planned so as to add to the ambience and this is one of the reasons why, although the work was given an overall sense of unity, a different identity was created for each room, making each room different from the others.

The spaces are linked together by the tessuto tesato, a stretched fabric which embellishes the walls of the ground floor and the upper rooms. Its colours and patterns are designed and manufactured exclusively for the Hotel Londra Palace, thus giving them an unusual and distinctive look.

The designs of the damasks are sometimes drawn from historical motifs, like those of the antique fabrics in the Museum of the textiles in Palazzo Mocenigo, but others are textile recreations of actual decorative frescoes found in historic buildings. This is the case with tessuto Vescovi (Bishop's fabric), inspired by the walls of a room in a villa of the same name in the Euganean hills. One of its rooms is decorated with a sixteenth-century fresco in imitation of fabric as it was not considered important enough to merit cloth to cover its walls.

All this was done with the aim of creating rooms which are on the one hand comfortable and luxurious but on the other full of history and life.

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The carpet covering the floors of the corridors is likewise unique. Each section has its own design and is inspired by ancient Venetian wrought iron railings. The design is seemingly complex, but is actually only composed of three elements (a circle, a droplet and a double spiral) combined to create an unusual pattern.

The main feature of the ground floor areas are the wide, regular openings onto the San Marco Basin: the interior spaces are softly lit by their light and evocatively embellished by the surrounding architectural lines, so guests are immediately immersed in the city’s timeless atmosphere.

In 2008, the ground floor was the subject of some radical restructuring. This was designed and fashioned down to the last detail in order to make the public areas quiet and welcoming, wrapping the guest in a kaleidoscope of colours dominated by reflections of gold. The large windows allow you to glimpse the interiors in combination with Venice's fascinating panoramas.

The walls, covered with ivory and sage green marmorino plaster, are divided by a series of pilasters reminiscent of those on the façade of the nearby church of San Zaccaria.

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Historical investigation of the building and its interiors, with the subsequent technical study of the actual lighting, led to the decision to restore the chandeliers, to highlight the visual axis of the dining rooms and illuminate the lounge room.

To conform with the existing fittings, new crystal and gold chandeliers were commissioned from Murano in the Ca’ Rezzonico style.

The idea of turning the light into volume was realized by creating projecting square shapes and holes, positioned in close coordination with the furnishings and harmonizing the whole with the classical style of Venetian glass.

The material used for the furnishings is mainly mahogany, its characteristic red grain helps to bring out the warm tones in the rooms.

The use of traditional materials is accompanied by geometric styles and an abstract formality, which is intended to recover the essence of the antique by simplifying the design.

The predominant decorative theme is the square, in gold leaf or in Antelio crystal, a theme which is repeated by the light fittings which are also square in shape.

The geometric pattern with contrasting inserts is reminiscent of both the precious inlay work of traditional cabinet making and the ornate tastes of Empire, in particular the bronze and gold inserts.

The metallic furnishings are of "bead blasted" brass, that is, treated with an industrial finish to make the metal unexpectedly soft and pleasant to touch.

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The guest is welcomed with some recognizable iconography in the hall: a partial view of the Venetian lagoon, the work of Jacopo de’ Barbari, created in 1500. The original matrix of the woodcut, consisting of six enormous pearwood panels, is preserved in the Museo Correr; this reproduction was scanned and vectorized and then transferred using laser technology to the front panel of the hall’s desk, which is also of pearwood.

Walls treated with gold leaf serve as its background, a finish found in precious works of eighteen century Venice and the pride of the gilders craftsman’s guild.