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May 2005

Article selected from our quarterly magazine dedicated to the largest and most luxurious boats with information, interviews, technical articles, images and yachting news



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Article by
Franca Urbani


Rubelli is a Venetian family firm whose roots go back to the sixteenth century. There are archival documents describing the sale of red fabrics for boat sails, which is the origin of the name "Rubellus". This then became "Rubelli", which remains the name of the family. The family known as "Rubellus" four hundred years ago and which wove, dyed and sold fabrics, has certainly come a long way. Today, the Rubelli company is a major concern even though it is still family-run, managed by the current head of the family, Alessandro Favaretto Rubelli (a lawyer) and his three sons.

Lorenzo Rubelli talks to us about his great-great-grandfather, who was a diplomat in the Middle East and a merchant dealing in textiles, carpets and silks. He bought out G.B. Trampolin, a weaving mill in Venice (formerly the Giacomo Panciera firm, founded in 1730). His great-grandfather opened 12 commercial outlets in Italy. Today, the firm's activity mainly involves working with architects in shipyards, hotels, on cruise ships and on super-yachts, carrying on the centuries-old Rubelli tradition of producing fabrics for ships and sailing. In the beautiful Palazzo Corner-Spinelli, in Venice, Alessandro Favaretto Rubelli has kept up the much-admired showroom. His office and his invaluable collection of antique fabrics are equally appreciated. The firm's splendid salons feature artistic displays of the four lines which Rubelli currently offers: "Contract", on the market since 1987, fireproof, and used for the interior furnishings of prestigious hotel chains and cruise ships; "Lisio", a typical Florentine brand; "Bises", a Roman brand dating back to the nineteenth century; and finally, the extremely modern minimalist line by the French designer, Dominique Kieffer. Last September, during the Decocontrac Trade Fair in Brussels, Rubelli was awarded the Trevira CS Award 2005 for its latest "Contract" collection, also designed by Dominique Kieffer. If one is overcome by so much modernity, all one need do is return to Palazzo Corner-Spinelli, where authentic, exquisite, antique Rubelli fabrics can be admired, those fabulous fabrics which, handmade on looms, made the firm famous around the world. They are as beautiful as ever, like the special touches on a painting by Giorgione. Would you like to purchase some of them, as many people from abroad do, and hang them on the walls of a house or on a boat? It is possible to order them, with costs ranging from ?1500 to ?3500, for a piece 60-cm high and 1-m wide. Rubelli now has a creative studio where 10 young people work on new ideas and proposals. It is located in Marghera, where the offices and warehouses, wherefrom the fabrics are shipped, are located. The firm, whose production unit is in Cucciago (CO), has become so versatile that it creates exclusive fabrics for its customers. Its recent work includes the refacing of all of the original textile decorations in Vienna's Albertina Museum and the numerous donations of fabrics such as those used to restore the Apollinee lounges in the La Fenice Theatre in Venice and the La Scala Museum in Milan.

For further information: RUBELLI SPA, Via della Pila 47, 30175 Marghera, Venezia, Tel +39 041 25 84 411 Fax +39 041 25 84 401, E-mail: Web site: