Laboratorio Morseletto

Words: Lina Stefanou / Photo: Yannis Bournias

Can you remember being impressed by any great architect?
Barbara and Deborah: Carlo Scarpa!
Barbara: He was charismatic. A simple man, like Frank Gehry or Chipperfield: all the great ones are. Scarpa was funny. He used to write little poems. He could write upside down, or left to right, so to read it you had to hold the paper before a mirror. To us as young children, this was magical stuff. He had dedicated a poem to me, called Santa Barbara. I still remember it: I know it by heart. It was written in the Venetian idiom, and talked about St Barbara, the patron saint of firemen and miners.
How did Scarpa and your father meet?
Barbara: Carlo Scarpa lived in the hills near Vicenza. My father tried to meet this important architect. He called many times, but Carlo was always too busy. At last he came to the phone once, and told my father to send him a catalogue. Then my father replied, “But, architetto, you cannot choose a supplier from the phone book. You have to come and meet him”. Carlo was impressed and came over. A great relationship was thus born, and not just professionally. They became friends, they shared the same passion for lunch and dinner, so they would choose a lot of different places to go. It was during those meals that they talked business, and the napkins would often fill with their drawings: then they would have to pay for the napkins so they could take them away.
What was the new thing that your father and Carlo Scarpa brought to this work?
Barbara: Carlo Scarpa introduced the maniacal importance of the detail, finding in Paolo the best collaborator.
Deborah: They would carry out several tests on the models, the finishing of materials… Scarpa was very deeply knowledgeable on materials and the chemical reactions of materials…


Deborah and Barbara owns Laboratorio Morseletto. Ottavio Missoni came here in the 1980s, designed the kind of floor he wanted for his stores and asked to have it made. Major architects like Carlo Scarpa, Alvaro Siza, Souto de Moura, Frank Gehry, Mario Botta, David Chipperfield and many others have crossed the threshold of Laboratorio Morseletto in Vicenza, Italy. It is because here stone is hewn to the utmost perfection. The two sisters talked to us about the history of their Laboratorio and the famous architects they met. (NOMAS, Venice, p. 34)