Chahan Minassian

Chahan Minassian Takes Over the Secretive Fortuny Headquarters


By Sofia Celeste

MILAN (Women’s Wear Daily) — Armenian Lebanese interior designer Chahan Minassian has a flair for enhancing Venetian jewels. The founder of Chahan Gallery in Paris is known around the canals for transforming the Abbazia San Gregorio, a former Benedictine abbey, into a 21st-century home brimming with curiosity and art. Since then, he has also put his touch on iconic Venetian Palazzos such as Contarini-Michiel, Corner Spinelli and Palazzo Brandolini-Giustinian, infusing them with his vision of contemporary living.

For the occasion of the Venice Art Biennale, which runs from late April to November 24, Minassian was tapped to reenvision the historic Fortuny headquarters and former home of Countess Gozzi into a gallery showcase of contemporary design, open to the the broader design community for the very first time. This is the first of a roster of new projects for the heritage brand, the company said in a statement previewed by WWD.

“It’s a gallery with the vision of the new Venetian interiors, complementing new curations and Chahan design to historical interiors. The property reveals our Murano glass custom collections, the Canal Grande signature tables, and Emilio Martinez’s paintings,” Minassian told WWD, adding that their shared vision intertwines diverse heritages, resulting in a captivating narrative. A curation of pieces on display by artists and designers represented by Minassian are available for purchase.

The Fortuny headquarters in Venice

Minassian, who made Venice his home six years ago, represents the ongoing cultural wave, ushering in new international residents to Venice’s shores, repopulating the tourist city with a dynamic residential cultural fabric. The partnership between Fortuny and Chahan “signifies Venice’s legacy as a center of cultural exchange,” the company said.

Visitors are welcome to discover evolving displays highlighting the integration of Fortuny’s craftsmanship with Chahan’s curation, in a rare opportunity to experience art, design and culture in one of the world’s most unique and beloved cities, according to the company.

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Fortuny, whose iconic dresses like the Delphos were coveted by yesteryear icons like Isadora Duncan and Oona Chaplin, was founded in 1921 by artist and inventor Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo. His label continues to resonate worldwide for its innovative textiles and timeless designs that have been integrated into the collections of modern day designers like Rick Owens. Its legacy was revitalized by brothers Mickey and Maury Riad, the firm’s creative director and chief executive officer respectively, who inherited the company from their father Maged Riad, in 1998. The latter had bought it from Countess Gozzi, Elsie McNeill Lee, the American interior designer who Mariano Fortuny had designated as his single representative in the U.S. McNeill Lee was the wife of Count Alvise Gozzi. She died in 1994.

Built on the grounds of an ancient convent, the company insists that the inner workings of the factory remain secret. According to the company, Fortuny y Madrazo’s will states that the techniques used to create the iconic fabrics would never be revealed publicly.

The historic Fortuny headquarters are located on the island of Giudecca in Venice and sits adjacent to the iconic Fortuny Factory facing the Giudecca Canal.



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