Marcante-Testa blends “unique characteristics of Venetian identity” for Ca’ Select bar and distillery

Ca' Select bar, visitor centre and production facility in Venice

Italian studio Marcante-Testa has turned an industrial building in Venice into the canal-side Ca’ Select bar, visitor centre and production facility.

Set alongside a small canal in the Cannareggio district of Venice, the bar and distillery belong to the company behind Select Aperitivo – the main ingredient of a Venetian Spritz.

Marcante-Testa Architects has turned an industrial building in Venice into the canal-side Ca' Select bar, visitor centre and production facility.
Ca’ Select bar is located on a canal in Venice

“The history of Select is closely tied to that of Venice, where the brand was founded in 1920,” said Marcante-Testa.

“Starting from this awareness, the mother company Gruppo Montenegro commissioned the architects Andrea Marcante and Adelaide Testa to formulate a reinterpretation of the unique characteristics of Venetian identity, reviving one aspect of the city’s past.”

Select Aperitivo bar in Venice
The space includes a Select Aperitivo bar

Marcante-Testa led the conversion of the former metal workshop into a bar and events space, spanning 690 square metres. Throughout the bar and production spaces, glass and ceramic details were chosen to highlight traditional Venetian crafts.

The elongated space was split linearly into three zones, with the bar placed at the front of the building so it can be accessed from the canal by a corridor clad in white and red Zellige tiles made by Mosaic Factory.

Bar in Venice by Marcante-Testa
The bar is wrapped in blue wavy glass

At the centre of the space is a freestanding bar wrapped in blue wavy glass “in the Murano tradition”, created by the Wonderglass company to recall the waves of the nearby lagoon.

The space features three handmade mosaics made from tiles fired in the historic Fornace Orsoni and informed by the sketches of Spanish designer Mariano Fortuny, who was a long-term resident of Venice.

Venetian seminato terrazzo flooring with red glass and blue sodalite marble inlays was used to unify the spaces, running from the entrance through the bar to the production area.

Separated from the bar by a large curtain is a seating area furnished with steel-framed sofas alongside armchairs upholstered in reds and pinks as a nod to the aperitivo’s colour. This area will also be used as an events space.

Events space at Ca' Select bar in Venice
An events space is located next to the bar

The event space has views through a red-tinted glass wall to the production facility at the rear of the building.

Here, the maceration of the herbs and spices used to make the distinctive aperitivo takes place.

Distillery in Venice
The distillery is separated from the public areas by a glass wall

The final space in Select Aperitivo’s building is nestled above the entrance corridor. Accessed by steps to the side of the entrance is a small visitor centre with exhibits curated by Turin-based Studio Fludd.

It contains seating and exhibits that aim to tell the story of the aperitivo brand, which was established in 1920.

Visitor centre for Select Aperitivo
An exhibition space is located above the entrance

Select Aperitivo hopes that the bar and visitor centre will continue to reinforce the brand’s historic links to the city.

“Ca’ Select represents a fundamental step in our multi-year plan to consolidate the brand and aims to strengthen the link with the city of origin,” said Marco Ferrari, CEO of Gruppo Montenegro, which owns the brand.

“It is no coincidence that we have decided to bring the heart of Select’s production here, to enhance the local culture starting with the valuable architectural elements that enrich the space.”

Production facility for Select Aperitivo
The building also houses a Select Aperitivo production facility

Other recently completed bars that have been featured on Dezeen include a brewery in a former Copenhagen slaughterhouse and a bar in Calgary topped with plywood barrel vaults.

Project credits:

Architectural project: Marcante-Testa
Interior design project: Marcante-Testa
Project and content management: Mindthegap Studio
Plants and facilities design: Pgs Ingegneria – Studio Associato
Content of the exhibition design: Studio Fludd
Production coordination and executive production: Epica film
Visual identity project: Studio Fludd
Building works director: Valter Camagna, Andrea marcante
Local architect: Stefano Romagna
Project manager: Roberta Minici
Safety manager and coordinator: Sebastiano Cibien
Building construction: Steelwood Engineering
Plant engineering work: Gruppo Frassati, Vem Sistemi
Set-up arrangements: Steelwood Rngineering, Gruppo Frassati, Amap, Wonderglass
Light design: Marcante-Testa with Flos
Decorative lighting supplier: Fortuny
Technical lighting supplier: Flos
System integrator: Acuson, Red Group

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