Venice is one of those magical cities that you never forget. As an interior designer and art consultant, I am constantly seeking inspiration and ideas, and fond memories of my trips to Venice will often lead me to try a different mix of color and texture that I remember seeing in a certain palazzo just off a picture postcard perfect canal. For everyone who loves this city like I do, Joann Locktov has edited a beautiful new book filled with gorgeous photographs by Charles Christopher. Entitled Dream of Venice, it pairs thoughts, memories and ethereal images of the enchanting La Serenissima by noted figures from the worlds of music, art and literature.
When a copy of Dream of Venice hit my desk, I opened it and promptly lost a good half-day reading the stories, poems and thoughts collected by Locktov. It made me remember the feeling of getting lost in the narrow winding lanes the first week of my job as a Guggenheim Fellow after all the tourists had gone back to the mainland. It conjured up memories of long dinners spent in tiny off the beat restaurants where locals gathered to enjoy the cool summer evenings and where I was the only tourist around. I even thought back to the day of the aqua alta, when suddenly the water didn’t just lap at my front door but decided to rise and invade my first floor home leaving me perched on my bed weighed down with all of my clothes and belongings! Many of the authors share personal experiences that make this book akin to reading journal entries of people who have shared similar experiences with you.
Charles Christopher’s photographs are exceptional in that they capture the spirit of the city with breathless beauty. We all know the famous vistas of churches and palaces, but here he shares his own personal Venice: one where the rippling waters of the canals reflect the blue sky and light bouncing off centuries old edifices. One photograph peeks inside a palazzo revealing a wonderful painted ceiling bathed in a warm glow. It’s like you’re just gliding past in your own gondola. Another image shows ghostly figures traversing a piazza shrouded in fog with only the twinkle of rows of lights defining the space. A design colleague asked where it could be, and like an insider, I recognized it immediately as being a fog laden St. Mark’s Square.
A portion of the proceeds from Dream of Venice will go to Save Venice Inc., an American non-profit dedicated to helping save this gem of a city for future generations to enjoy. They seek to fund much needed restoration of the treasures of the city, both the architectural and many works of art that fill this incredible place. The American conductor and Music Director James Conlon writes “The beauty and magic of Venice has been passed from generation to generation for centuries.” Until I manage to get back to Venice, I take comfort in that I can retreat into this book and relive the magic I experienced as a resident over and over again.
Richard Rabel is a New York Interior Designer and Principal at Richard Rabel: Interiors+ Art, a design studio offering residential design, decorating and art advising services.