Briccola

Briccola

A silent symbol of Venice…

There are a lot of things, which “facets” an image of any city. For example, it could be remarkable buildings, sculptures and the other architectural objects, or a special bridge, beautiful house, some bas-relief or even the whole museum. But there are also such objects, that could be unnoticed, but at the same time they are the integral accents of any city. So, briccola became such a silent symbol of Venice.

 

What is briccola?

Briccola (or briccole) – is a special pile, which sticks out from water in The Venetian Lagoon. There are a lot of such piles, they are placed practically everywhere. That’s why briccola becomes an integral accent of the authentic venetian landscapes.

What is briccola?
the lanterns, fixed on briccolas in Venice; behind – San Giorgio Maggiore

What briccola has been used for? For example, mooring lines could be fixed on these piles. Briccolas are also serve as a nice support for the lanterns, or the boats and gondolas can moor to these piles. Traditionally, briccolas are made of oak (an European Oak or an American Oak), chestnut wood is used less often. A typical oak pile for briccola has 20-40 cm in diameter and 2-4 m longwise. More longer piles could be used also: for example, they can have more than 5 m longwise. As a rule, briccola has a life circle from 5 to 7 years (or 10 years), after that these piles have to be changed. Just when briccola becomes unfit for using in the water, its “second life” starts…

What is briccola?
gondolas moored to these piles

A true aesthetics of briccola

While briccola is placed in water, little “underwater designers and sculptors” – such as mollusks and the other representatives of sea fauna – are working with its design. Oak piles start to change due to the influence of sea water, flora and microorganisms: fantasy “drawings”, micro relief, amazing color shades, cracks and the other “imperfections” appear on its surface. A true aesthetics of briccola reveals due to all these details. It keeps an emotional connection with Venice and some nostalgic poetics of memories. So, a non-remarkable oak pile, that just sticks out from water, becomes a unique material, which “second life” starts in the boundless (fascinating) world of design.

Using briccola in design

Each briccola, that unfit for using in the water, is a unique material, because every fragment has its own unique aesthetics. Its beauty reveals due to the natural “imperfections”, which has been formed during the years. Special wax and oils are used for keeping its natural wooden surface, its roughness, cracks, little holes, unique texture and the other aesthetic accents of this material. We shouldn’t invent any intricate shapes or complicated details working with it, because the main feature of briccola is an accent on a true aesthetics of the natural “imperfections”. Today we can see unique art-objects, which were made of briccola.

Author: Marina Schultz