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The female (cultural) resistance fighter

Agnese Lunardelli talks about her love of Venice and about how her plan to save it is based on creativity.

Agnese Lunardelli, businesswoman with a vision all her own and a mission shared with others, is in no doubt: “Venice is my muse. I couldn’t bear the idea of seeing it sold off, one plastic gondola after another. The city has gifted me so much that I thought I should give something back.” The “something” in question is Lunardelli Venezia, a space in which woodworking and Venetian creativity come together.

Why wood? Because it’s the material that she and her brother, and their father before them, have worked for decades.

I saw how people were taking home objects inspired by a Venice I didn’t like, when instead there is an extraordinary artisan tradition here, one that speaks of the city and has an altogether different philosophy.” Agnese set about selecting a small group of designers who were Venetian by birth or by adoption – people like Alberto Lago, Omri Revesz, Damiano Frison, Marco Zito and Elisabetta Mancinelli – and asking them to think of products which had to do with both Venice and with wood. The result is 13 objects, now in production, ranging from the Piova lamp, to the Masaneta bowl, the Ca’ Pesaro stool which is made in partnership with Luigi Bevilacqua who supplies the fabrics, and a tray that goes by the name of Sfojo, which in Venetian means “sole” [the fish].

In each of these objects there’s a bit of Venice, starting with their names. And there is wood, from which it all began. From the day in which Angelo Lunardelli, Agnese and Sebastiano’s father, went to work at the age of 12 as an apprentice carpenter. He fell in love with his craft and mastered it so well that the doors of sumptuous palazzi were opened to him and he began to feel at home on the Grand Canal, an unusual experience for someone from such a modest background. At the age of 28 he started his own business making doors and window frames. Agnese and Sebastiano grew up among wood shavings and sawdust, and their bond with Venice strengthened.

When Angelo died, it was Agnese who rolled up her sleeves and took over the business.

Her watchword is preserve, don’t replace; don’t change the nature of things. Respect for the environment is a priority, which means following a production process with the least possible impact.

From windows and doors I moved on to custom-made articles, and I then I began making furniture and fittings to order. I realized that the fact that my business card had the word Venice on it lent me visibility abroad. So I thought I would give something back to the city.” With that, Spazio Lunardelli was born, a space of cultural resistance, because beauty cannot be stopped.