It would be pretty hard to find anyone who wouldn’t think about gondolas first when thinking about Venice. Marco Balich, the designer who created the famous Tree of Life at Expo 2015, asked Philippe Starck to reimagine one of the most iconic symbols of Italian beauty and heritage.
The idea for the Winter Gondola was created by the French designer for the veniSIA (Venice Sustainability Innovation Accelerator), reflecting on the serious problems that the iconic Italian city and at the same time the entire world is facing, such as climate change and the tourism industry, which is getting out-of-control. The designer says he chose one of Italy’s most iconic vessels for his project because it was an exciting challenge to reimagine one of the world’s most complex ships. Despite its utterly asymmetrical design, the gondola balances perfectly and navigates easily in the most difficult conditions. Keeping these qualities in mind, his design has further developed the iconic craft using sustainable solutions such as algae bio-resin, compressed bamboo, solar turbines, or hydro-generators.
The futuristic-looking winter gondola—with a small room at its heart—is still just a dream, but it aims to draw attention to a number of values and problems that are very real in the world as we know it.