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Carlo Scarpa

Venice's great 20th century architect and designer

Tomba Brion by Carlo Scarpa

Born in Venice, Carlo Scarpa (June 2, 1906 – November 28, 1978) was an architect and designer of furniture, glass and landscape gardens, who notably combined the use of rich craft traditions and fine materials of his native city with the minimalist styles of Japan.

Scarpa taught drawing and interior design at the Istituto universitario di architettura di Venezia, and worked on glass designs with the Venini Glass works in Murano. He had a huge following among other architects, and died at the height of his fame after falling down a flight of stairs on a construction site in Japan. He was buried standing up like a medieval knight in one of his last great projects, the Brion-Vega Cemetery in San Vito d'Altivole.

Among Scarpa's works in his hometown are the main (and the Venezuelan) Biennale Pavillons in the Giardini Pubblici; the entrance hall (1936) and lecture hall (1956) at Ca' Foscari; the Olivetti Showroom on the north end of Piazza San Marco (now a showcase of Scarpa's works) and the renovated ground floor of the Fondazione Querini-Stampalia (1963).

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: Ingrid Berniga Dotras