For Marcantonio Brandolini, there’s no place like Venice. Having left the city of his birth at sixteen – first for boarding school in Switzerland, then on to London, Argentina and Milan – the President and Creative Director of glassware company LagunaB eventually realised that "Venice actually was the best place for me to spend my life." It’s not hard to see why. Often found on his boat (like many a seasoned local) coasting around the city’s enchanting canals or commuting to work on Murano Island, the heart of the eponymous industry, water is a critical component to the Venetian every day.
When we speak, Brandolini is just back from a swim at a beach, a stone’s throw from his home in the heart of the city, the historic Palazzo Brandolini. “I go to [the beach], have a quick dip and I really understand the potential of Venice, and how amazing the lifestyle is here. It’s fantastic.” LagunaB offers boat tours to customers, believing that the true life and potential of Venice is best experienced from the water.
Brandolini’s love and passion for his hometown translates into his work. The company, famous for its colourful, sculptural glassware pieces that reinterpret the classic goto de fornace (glasses traditionally made by glass masters’ assistants with remnants that remained at the end of the working day) was founded by his late mother, Marie, in 1996. Since Brandolini took the helm in 2016, LagunaB’s mission has been to create the most environmentally-friendly, genuinely carbon neutral company possible, for the sake both of the planet and of his beloved Venice.
Beyond highlighting the natural beauty of Venice from the company’s ‘LagunaB Boat’, the company’s mission statement is all about sustainability; creating quality, lasting pieces in an environmentally friendly way while ensuring a positive future for generations to come. He also collaborates regularly with other brands, expanding connections between Venice and other companies worldwide, such as with the Carolina Bucci home fragrance, Villa Colombo.
For close to two years now, LagunaB has invested in the environmental project Vital, which runs in collaboration with We Are Here Venice, a non-profit group dedicated to protecting the natural environment that surrounds the city. Vital’s aim is to restore Venice’s marshes, which are integral to encouraging a rich and diverse array of flora and fauna, mitigating rising tides and which – crucially – have a high potential for carbon sequestration. Salt marshes, Brandolini tells us, "are around fifty times more effective for carbon sequestration than a tropical rainforest." The goal? For local carbon emissions to be completely offset by these new salt marshes by 2022.
We spoke to Brandolini about what he recommends for visitors of Venice, as someone who knows the city best.
San Piero in Volta and go to the restaurant Da Nane.
Salute, because I have good memories of when we used to go as children to celebrate la salute in November.
Canova tomb at Frari.
Lemons and oranges at Paolo Rosso shop.
Caffe Rosso in Campo Santa Margherita.
Alberoni, facing the sea.