magazzini del sale, venice, italy, industrial art, sunset,history

This month we host another post of our joyful collaboration with Venice in Pattern.

As usual, we will try to link a special person to a place, telling a story of emotions.


Personality: Roy Lichtenstein.

Place: Magazzini del Sale.


Industrial art is usually seen as the dark side of a city. Industrial art does not interest tourists and people soon forget about it. Somehow, this is normal. Industrial buildings do not express the same beauty and grandeur of those works of art that were conceived to amaze.

Nevertheless, industrial art is an iconic piece of a city, the witness of its past and funder of those, nobler, works of art.


Magazzini del Sale (Salt warehouses)

venice, italy, magazzini del sale, history, industrial art, roy

Nowadays investors use to say that “big data are the new oil” meaning that oil has been replaced as a fundamental asset by big data in a world hit by digital transformation.

Keeping the oil as the benchmark, someone may ask: “What was the oil of the past?” “Salt!”

Salt was an essential asset for the economy of Venice and that is why the Republic decided to build a huge warehouse for salt in Sestiere Dorsoduro, an area easily reachable by boats.

Magazzini del Sale was built around the XV century. It was made of nine warehouses merged in a huge complex. The outside is typical of the industrial art of that era: simple but stark, fitting perfectly in the architecture of that area of Venice.

This building was so important that it has been included in the VENETIE MD engraved by Jacopo de’ Barbari. In the map the artist portrait the nine warehouses with several boats in front of them. Some years later, Fondamenta delle Zattere was built and today Magazzini del Sale rise just at the end of this beautiful Venetian promenade.

As we said, much of the trade occurred around the St. Mark basin.

In 1830, the city renovated the warehouses according to the project of Alvise Pigazzi.

Finally, recently a debated project aimed to transform the warehouses into a swimming pool for the city.

The proposal split the city and, after a period of fierce discussion, it was abandoned. Magazzini del Sale was renovated by Renzo Piano and, nowadays, each of the nine warehouses hosts a different organization and, among them, temporary art expositions.

Roy Lichtenstein

Ponte Accademia

One of the most famous artists hosted in the warehouse was Roy Lichtenstein, in 2013.

For the first time in Europe 45 of his works, made between 1965 and 1997, were presented at Fondazione Vedova, located in one of the warehouse of the Magazzini del Sale.

Lichtenstein belongs to the pop art generation and leads the pop art parody. His disruptive works were inspired by comic strips and tried to describe reality through parody.

It was such a perfect combination to see its sculptures in such an historic place, mixing past and future, industrial and big art.