Hues of Venice

Acclaimed textile designer Lori Weitzner makes her debut with a chromatic exhibition
View of Santa Caterina and the grand canal of Venice on a sunny day.

Above Image: The Grand Canal, Venice. Photo by Alen Rojnic.

By Aliette Boshier

“Venice glowed and plashed and called and chimed again; the air was like a clap of hands, and the scattered pinks, yellows, blues, sea-greens, were like a hanging-out of vivid stuffs, a laying-down of fine carpets.” Much like the reawakening of the storm-washed city in these lines by Henry James, this April will see a dazzling return of life and light to Venice when the 59th Biennale is launched after an absence of three long years. Amid a truly diverse and female-focused lineup of international artists, New York textile designer Lori Weitzner will inject a dash of prismatic splendor into proceedings with the multisensory exhibit, Ode to Color, inspired by her 2016 book of the same name.

Hosted by the European Cultural Centre at Palazzo Mora as part of its long-running Personal Structures series, Weitzner’s installation will respond to the theme of “Reflections” by presenting her ten unique “color worlds.” Devised by Weitzner, these palettes “speak to the senses on an emotional level, influencing our moods and energies, prompting us to work harder or relax more or celebrate with greater abandon, reflecting who we are and what we feel,” Weitzner explains.

Three images: On left of the designer smiling. On right the top image is a set of notions and swatches in shades of blue. Below is a view of a book cover with title "Ode to Color".

(Clockwise L to R) Lori Weitzner; the designer’s “Waterside” color world, and Ode to Color, Weitzner’s book and the inspiration for her Venice exhibition. Photos by Matthew Millman.

Visitors will discover “a trove of curiosities—scraps of fabric, things found in nature, yarn, fiber and paint,” shares Weitzner. Carefully composed in separate translucent boxes, these miniature Wunderkammer of kaleidoscopic delights will mirror the patterns and hues of the designer’s own serene studio space in downtown Manhattan, with its orderly store of treasures acquired over a lifetime of collecting: delicate lilac sea urchins, worn tile fragments, Indian printing blocks, a silvery ammonite, spools of glistening thread, a chunk of amethyst, and rows of textile swatches like fish scales on the smooth white walls.

“Carefully composed in separate translucent boxes, these miniature wunderkammer of kaleidoscopic delights will mirror the patterns and hues of the designer’s own serene studio space…”

Two images. One on left is of someone working in a light and airy study with lots of drawers and bins and organized swatches on wall. On right is a closeup of various objects from the sea, including a sea urchin shell and coral skeleton.

A lifelong synesthete, Weitzner has collaborated on the creation of ten corresponding fragrances and musical arrangements to further engage the senses. As a visual creator, she especially enjoyed the challenge of trying to translate her perception of color into the unfamiliar languages of scent and sound—for example, Whisper, a color world of cream, oyster, and parchment, needed to be “very soft, quiet.” By inviting viewers to experience color in such an immersive way, she hopes to “inspire them to think about how to use it as a tool to navigate their own lives.” Weitzner dreams of one day finding a choreographer to interpret her Ode to Color book through the medium of dance.

As a designer, Weitzner loves the overlap between the different areas of her practice, which has seen her tread a path from textiles to textured stone, from passementerie to jewelry. It has been both “incredibly liberating and nerve-racking” to come to Venice as an artist in her own right, but the longevity of her career has also brought a sense of self-acceptance. In the meantime, her color worlds continue to be the origin point for each new collection and client project she undertakes. As she says with a laugh, “All colors are viable all the time—there’s no color that is out in my world!”

Four images showing a variety of fabrics.

(L to R) Reflecting her fluency in many mediums, Weitzner’s scope of products includes the River Bardiglio Nuvolato Marble tile for Artistic Tile; and her wallcoverings and fabrics for Pollack/Weitzner. Photos by Matthew Millman.

Ode to Color is presented by sponsors Pollack/Weitzner (available through Natalie Mize Collective), Artistic Tile, Samuel & Sons (available through Kneedler Fauchère) and Hunter Douglas.

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