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Venice is a city full of secrets, something you only truly appreciate when you explore what hides behind the ancient walls of its narrow, canal-framed streets. Last week, I was treated to such an insight when I met with architect Raffaella Bortoluzzi, who showed me her apartment in a fifteenth-century building in Castello, a neighborhood not far from the Piazza San Marco. About a decade ago, Bortoluzzi spent two years renovating the space, but she’s back at it again, currently repairing this staircase. Bortoluzzi is known for her ultramodern interpretation of classical structures. She recently completed the Hampton Bays residence of designer Muriel Brandolini and her husband, Nuno. Muriel was left so “dangerously happy” with the result she never wants to leave her home!

Photo: Wendy Goodman

I was dazzled by the contrast between the ancient building and its sleek interior. Bortoluzzi redid the floors with terrazzo, a traditional Venetian material that is usually made with concrete and crushed colored marble. The inventive designer used Murano glass with Botticino marble.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

A view of the living room. A previous tenant concealed the exposed wood beams with a dropped ceiling. Bortoluzzi removed the ceiling and preserved the natural look of the wood with a clear polyurethane base. She treated the steel panels on the back wall to a lick of glossy white paint. When you slide the panel shut, the shadow increases, thanks to the light fixture attached to the wall. The upholstered furniture is by Edra, and the side table is an Eileen Gray.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

This fireplace was revealed when Bortoluzzi removed an artificial wall that had been added by a previous owner. The graceful mantle anchors the room and draws attention to the windows.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Maurizio Pellegrin used an image of map of Venice as the canvas for this piece of art. The wooden object on the left of the work, which hangs in Bortoluzzi’s living room, is an original hand-sculpted fixture traditionally used to secure the oar to a gondola.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Bortoluzzi designed this blackened steel dining table and had it fabricated by a local metalworker.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

The fire-engine-red kitchen cabinets are all … Ikea! Bortoluzzi designed the central island, the marble-topped table is by Saarinen, and the metal chairs are by Bertoia.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Bortoluzzi peers through the study door at another of her designs, bookshelves made by a local artisan.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

At the other end of the study, a Bortoluzzi-designed light fixture made from the rods used to blow Murano glass.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

A gondola gliding through the liquid street, as seen from the study window.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Simple perfection in the master bedroom. The headboard and bedspread are both Marimekko fabric.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Colorful Murano-glass doorknobs that the savvy Bortoluzzi repurposed as coat hooks.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Sam Khaled Hindy (left) Base of the Manhattan Bridge. On November 16, 2007, Hindy was run over after mistakenly entering a Manhattan Bridge lane reserved for cars.

Habian Rodriguez Main Street and Horace Harding Expressway, Flushing. On September 1, 2007, Rodriguez collided with a city bus and died 30 minutes later.

Elizabeth Padilla (left) Fifth Avenue and Prospect Place, Park Slope. Commuting to the Brooklyn Bar Association on June 9, 2005, Padilla swerved to avoid the open door of a parked P.C. Richard’s truck. She lost control of her bike and fell underneath the wheels of an ice-cream delivery truck.

Juan Luis Solis East Gun Hill Road and Bouck Avenue, the Bronx. Attempting to pass a double-parked car on June 22, 2007, Solis was struck by a box truck and died of severe head trauma. The truck did not stop.

Jeffrey Moore (left) Chauncey Street and Rockaway Avenue, Bed-Stuy. According to witnesses, on May 29, 2007, Moore was run over (twice) by his girlfriend Jeanine Harrington. She was indicted on charges of murder and criminal possession of a weapon (her Nissan Pathfinder).

Derek Lake Houston Street and La Guardia Place. On June 26, 2006, Lake reportedly skidded on a steel construction plate and was crushed underneath the wheels of a passing truck.

Elijah Armand Wrancher (left) Springfield Boulevard and 130th Avenue, Springfield Gardens. On August 28, 2007, 12-year-old Wrancher attempted to ride his bicycle while holding onto a moving truck. He lost his grip and fell under the truck’s rear wheel.

David Smith Sixth Avenue and 36th Street. On December 5, 2007, Smith was biking up Sixth Avenue when the passenger-side door of a parked pickup truck opened unexpectedly. He was knocked into the path of an oncoming truck.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Fall Fashion Features

The Beefcake in the Backcourt
Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.

 

The Beefcake in the Backcourt
Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.
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