New York starchitect Robert A.M. Stern heads to Venice for inspiration

Robert A.M. Stern and Venice
Robert A.M. Stern and Venice

Over the years, Robert A.M. Stern has designed some of New York’s most elegant and luxurious buildings, including 15 Central Park West, 30 Park Place, 220 Central Park South, 520 Park Avenue and 20 East End Avenue. So where does he look for inspiration and a little bit of relaxation? Venice of course.

In an Architectural Digest post written by Robert Stern’s son, Nicholas, describes his family’s recent whirlwind European tour. Robert, Nicholas, and his son Alexander, spent one week taking in as much of Venice, Paris, and London as possible.

“Dad doesn’t go anywhere without doing academic research,” Nicholas writes of his famed father. “He devised the itinerary, and he doesn’t slow down. One look and it was clear we would alternate highbrow with cool, ticking off required sites and exploring the rare and new places that keep journeys fresh for even the most seasoned and scholarly traveler.”

In Venice, the family stayed in the Belmond Hotel Cipriani. They then boarded a vaporetto and sailed by the industrial zone on Giudecca, and then down the Grand Canal.

“Dad took us to see the 2009 Punta della Dogana art museum, the former customs house transformed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando. We admired the confidence with which Ando had married clean detailing and contemporary materials to historic assemblies and timeworn surfaces,” Nicholas writes.

The family also made stops at Andrea Palladio’s 16th-century Church of San Giorgio and Le Stanze del Vetro, an art-glass museum by architect Annabelle Selldorf.

“A gracious invitation from architect Emilio Ambasz, a longtime friend of Dad’s, was a final treat for us. Emilio has spent more than 20 years painstakingly restoring one of Venice’s great palazzos, and he asked us to join him there for dinner,” Nicholas writes, of their last day in Venice.

After all that, we’ll be watching out for palazzos in Stern’s next limestone masterpiece.