Pieces of Venice: Italian Social Design

Born out of love for the city of Venice as a circular economy project, Pieces of Venice is the brainchild of Luciano and Karin Marson. The couple's commitment to sustainability through the “Save Venice one piece at a time” program was rewarded with the prestigious Compasso d’Oro Award for Social Design.

When navigating the Venetian lagoon, by boat or vaporetto, you will find yourself immersed in one of the most evocative landscapes in the world, unique in its colors and atmospheres. ​Pieces of Venice project was born to enhance and convey the love for this beautiful land. Founded in 2017 by Luciano and Karin Marson, the project was born with a mission: to save Venice, one piece at a time.

Based on the concept of circular economy, with a short supply chain, their production starts from the city of Venice, from the reclamation and recycling of discarded materials. Each of these pieces is given new life, turning them into unique souvenirs or useful objects. All the designed items are dedicated to Venice, starting with their names inspired by local cultural institutions: each “piece of Venice” contributes to draw a map that leads the tourist to discover the city’s hidden treasures. 

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In the midst of the abuse and banality of contemporary souvenirs, this is a designed base around material and cultural reclamation which conveys identity, history, irony and authenticity.

Marsons’ commitment to sustainability and social design lies in the attention to the choice of recycled materials, especially wood: some of the sources of this material are the “bricole”, characteristic wooden poles that guide boats through the lagoon. These pieces are made of oak-wood and are eroded by the action of the sea water, they constantly need to be replaced and are dismissed: here is the great activity of restoration and recycling implemented by Pieces of Venice.

As a Benefit Company, Pieces of Venice is both highly sensitive and socially aware and it entrusts the working and transforming of these materials to companies whose goals involve social revitalization and rehabilitation. In bringing products to market, the Marsons are geared towards an audience that is not only attentive to the quality of the objects but also aware that part of the value of the purchased product will go to benefit societies.

Thanks to this spirit and the strong love for their land, Pieces of Venice won the 2020 Compasso d’Oro Award for Social Design, the most prestigious design prize in Italy, and their unique pieces are now part of the permanent exhibition of ADI Design Museum in Milan. 

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