This Itinerant Design Fair Will Soon Take Over a Gothic Palace in Venice
published on 30/08/2019
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After stints in St. Moritz and Monaco, Nomad will open up a privately owned palazzo in Venice next week
Following successful editions in St. Moritz and Monaco, Nomad will pop up in Venice from September 5–8. As its name implies, Nomad is a nomadic design fair held in various cities around the world. Founded by Giorgio Pace and Nicolas Bellevance-Lecompte of Beirut’s Carwan Gallery, the fair gives collectors the chance to meet the designers, many of whom are present at the event, in an intimate and exclusive setting.
For the upcoming edition, Nomad has partnered with Venice Glass Weekin order to celebrate this ancient Venetian art. As part of the collaboration, WonderGlass will debut two limited-edition pieces by AD100 designer India Mahdavi, as well as special editions of classic pieces by Nao Tamura and Dan Yeffet in an exhibition entitled "Mondi." Nomad’s guests are encouraged to visit the exhibitions being organized by Venice Glass Week—and vice versa.
As design fairs become ever-more gargantuan and ubiquitous, Nomad is a refreshing antidote to the white-tent model. The invite-only fair hosts just 10 to 30 galleries in each edition and takes over a historic mansion or villa that is in itself worth visiting. For example, the Monaco edition was famously held at Villa La Vigie, once inhabited by Karl Lagerfeld. And come next week, Nomad will take over the 15th-century Palazzo Soranzo van Axel, considered one of the best-preserved Gothic palaces in Venice.
“The locations of Nomad are very carefully selected because it has to be always either historical or an interesting place,” the fair’s cofounder Giorgio Pace tells AD PRO. “Most of the time they’re not very well known and they’re not really open to the public, and those are the elements that dictate the selection of the property.”
Perched on the southernmost tip of Venice’s Cannaregio district, the Palazzo Soranzo van Axel was closed to the public until last year, following a 12-year restoration. Completed in 1479, it was commissioned by Nicolò Soranzo and later served as the home of wealthy Flemish textile merchants. Fifteen leading galleries, including London’s David Gill Gallery, Milan’s Nilufar Gallery, and Monaco’s Muse Gallery, will each get a room within the privately owned palazzo. There will also be a series of special projects, including an installation by filmmaker Luca Guadagnino, which Pace is especially excited about.
“I very much enjoy it as this is not a fair, but more of an exhibition in places that are befitting for the exhibits,” AD100 designer Francis Sultana, who has attended all of Nomad’s past editions, tells AD PRO. “I cannot miss attending and I always source beautiful pieces,” he said, adding that he will indeed be attending the upcoming Nomad Venice yet again.
For Pace, the most important objective in organizing the fair is keeping the gallerists and collectors happy. “It’s almost creating a family that’s always trying to be together,” he says. “We try to entertain them a lot. It’s more intimate. It’s not a huge fair where there’s no intimacy and time to talk.”